MANILA (UPDATE) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte emerged on top of a Pulse Asia presidential preference survey in Metro Manila.
The result of the privately commissioned survey, conducted from November 11 to 12, said 34% of the respondents said they would vote for Duterte if the elections were to be held during the survey dates.
A previous Pulse Asia survey in September showed 27% of Metro Manila respondents said they would vote for Duterte.
Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe ranked second with 26%, down from 31% in September.
She is followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay with 22% (from 26%), former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas with 11% (from 13%), and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 7% (no rating in September).
A total of 300 Metro Manila respondents participated in the November survey. They were shown a list of candidates for president and asked which candidate they would vote for if elections were held today.
The survey has a margin of error of ± 5.7.
Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda said the survey was privately commissioned by a group supportive of Duterte.
''They are supportive of Mayor Duterte, [but] I don't think the mayor knew that this was running,'' she told ANC.
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis Escudero was the top vice-presidential candidate for Metro Manila respondents, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.
Escudero, Poe's running mate, got 32%. He is followed by Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. with 24%, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano with 20%, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo with 10%, Sen. Gregorio Honasan II with 8%, and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV with 4%.
Two percent of the respondents did not pick anyone among the choices for vice-president.
At the time of the survey, Duterte had not yet declared that he would run for president.
Asked to explain what the survey says about Metro Manila voters' behavior amid Duterte's indecision, Tabunda said: "This indicates there are certain types of voters who prefer a certain type of candidate even if you have all this indecision going on. These voters are probably concerned about certain issues that they think Mayor Duterte can address."
The tough-talking mayor said the Senate Electoral Tribunal's (SET) decision favoring Senator Grace Poe in a disqualification case prompted him to change his mind about not seeking the presidency.
He said he could not accept that Poe will be allowed to run, saying the senator is not a natural-born Filipino and is therefore not qualified to run for president.
READ: 'Don't cheapen the presidency,' Duterte tells Poe's camp
The doors for a Duterte candidacy were opened after PDP-Laban presidential bet Martin Diño dropped out of the 2016 race,.
Diño said he decided to withdraw his candidacy because of the Comelec's motu proprio decision to declare him as a nuisance candidate, even as some had suspected that he was just the party's placeholder for the mayor.
Prior to this, the party had chosen Duterte, who missed the October 16 deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy, to substitute for Diño.
Tabunda explained that before the respondents in the survey were shown the list of candidates, Pulse Asia first explained Diño's withdrawal and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution that allows substitution of candidates by political parties.
Poe's camp, meanwhile, said the survey ''released by Mayor Duterte's camp'' does not reflect the pulse of the nation as it only captured the sentiment of Metro Manila voters.
"Surveys give us a snap shot of people's sentiments at a given point in time. Sentiments change regularly depending on what message people hear. Our resolve is to continue our drive to explain to the electorate Sen. Poe's advocacy of inclusive governance. Gobyerno kung saan walang maiiwanan," said Poe's spokesperson Rex Gatchalian.
"Furthermore, the survey only covers NCR. There is more to the Philippines than Metro Manila. Hence, at this point the survey is inconclusive and not reflective of the sentiments of the country."