MANILA - (UPDATED) Top-rated TV show "Ang Probinsyano" lifted a senatorial aspirant's chances of winning, while President Rodrigo Duterte's attacks against the Liberal Party pulled down two others, the president of Pulse Asia said Thursday.
Former Sen. Lito Lapid was at the fifth to seventh rank in the pollster's December survey, higher than his showing in his last run in 2010 when he was at the tail-end of the Magic 12, according to Pulse Asia President Ronald Holmes.
The action star-turned-lawmaker got a boost from his appearance in the Coco Martin-starrer primetime show, where he played the leader of a rebel group, Holmes told ANC's Headstart.
"If it’s top-rating, then that’s free media mileage…Anyone whose awareness is 90 can be considered (to have) universal awareness," Holmes said of Lapid, who enjoys a 99-percent awareness rate.
Liberal Party stalwarts Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino, meanwhile, remain in the lower half of the winning circle in the recent survey. They placed in the 8-15 and 10-16 ranks respectively.
Holmes believes this could be attributed to the criticism leveled against the Liberal Party by the President.
"The so-called anti-dilawan, it's a factor," he said.
"If a president enjoys a level of approval that is quite significant, and in this instance a significant majority in the last survey that we conducted, it was 75%, and that president would attack or criticize people who have held positions in the past, more specifically the party that is opposed to his administration, that will have a detrimental effect on the party and the individuals associated with that party," he added.
Candidates with an oppositional stance then should devise a way to woo a public that is supportive of the president to also support them, said Holmes.
Roxas was a former senator before he ran and lost in the 2016 presidential elections. Aquino, cousin of Duterte's predecessor, is part of the minority in the current Senate.
NO MORE KRIS, SARA DUTERTE IN PULSE LIST
Aquino was in the 18-23 rank in September because the Pulse Asia list included the name of TV and social media personality Kris Aquino, said Holmes.
His numbers improved in the December poll after his celebrity cousin signified no intent to run for public office and was subsequently removed from the pool of choices for the respondents, according to Holmes.
Another name off the list of choices for the respondents was Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, daughter of the President, who did not file her certificate of candidacy for senator. She was in the 5-6 rank in the September poll.
Reelectionist Senator Grace Poe topped the Pulse Asia survey for the May elections released on Wednesday.
Only Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa had a chance of cracking the winners' circle of 12, which consisted otherwise of reelectionists or comebacking senators, according to the poll of 1,800 respondents from Dec. 14 to 21.
Holmes said that a factor for the consistently high ranking of some of the names in the list was name recall, having previously served as senators and coming from political families.
Marcos, eldest daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, received as much support as her brother, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, said Holmes.
Bongbong garnered about a quarter of votes in his vice-presidential run in 2016, so it was no wonder that his sister would rank well in multiple-seat competition such as the senatorial race despite opposition from some segments of the Filipino public, he added.
Dela Rosa, who was at the helm of the police force when Duterte first started his war on drugs, enjoys a 98-percent awareness rate according to the survey.
He is consistently receiving the support of 1 of 3 Filipinos, ranking in the 8th spot, noted Holmes.