MANILA - The "aggressive campaign" of former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and the acquittal of former Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. from graft charges helped improve their rankings in the recent survey, a Pulse Asia official said Friday.
Revilla, known for being an actor and lawmaker, settled in the 8th to 15th slot, while Go, who never held an elected position, landed on the 14th to 16th spot in a Pulse Asia survey conducted between December 14 and 21.
Bong the action star
Revilla, who allegedly diverted public funds to his personal accounts, was acquitted from graft charges a week before the survey was conducted.
"It seems that the fact the he was acquitted helped him because prior to this [acquittal], Bong Revilla was not in top 12," Pulse Asia Research Director Ana Maria Tabunda told ANC's Early Edition.
"Now they are giving him the benefit of the doubt, it seems," she said.
The Sandiganbayan's favorable decision for the former lawmaker will not be enough to sustain his inclusion in the top 12 as the case still "affected the voter preference" of some respondents, the researcher said.
"We have to remember that in 2010, Senators Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada were fighting for the number 1 slot, with people saying, 'Look at this guy. This guy is a potential presidential or vice presidential material,' but they're not there now," she said.
Revilla and Estrada, both scions of movie stars-turned-politicians, were tagged in the pork barrel scam case in 2013.
Both were jailed, along with veteran lawmaker Juan Ponce Enrile, for allegedly pocketing billions of their priority development assistance fund.
Bong the presidential aid
The other Bong in the 2019 senatorial race, meantime, inched closer to the Magic 12 in December because of his "aggressive campaigns," Tabunda said.
"The aggressive campaign is really a big factor because they really have to increase the awareness for Bong Go," she said.
Pictures of billboards, tarpaulins, mugs, and even mobile phones and relief goods bearing Go's name and face went viral last year for alleged early campaigning.
Duterte's long-time aide earlier said he had nothing to do with the campaign materials and asked his supporters to take down the billboards and tarpaulins.