MANILA - Aksyon Demokratiko on Monday defended its standard bearer Isko Moreno Domagoso's single-digit numbers in Pulse Asia's latest pre-election survey, saying the January 2022 poll was done before a media exposures where the Manila mayor was able to expound on his proposed policies.
Pulse Asia's January survey was conducted from January 19 to 24 and did not take into consideration Domagoso's interview with TV host Boy Abunda and the forum hosted by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel Jr said.
"Our internal survey showed that Mayor Isko was a clear winner in the January 22 and 27 interviews and the February 4 KBP forum," Ramel told reporters in a press conference.
Pulse Asia's latest survey showed Domagoso sharing the third spot with Sen. Manny Pacquiao, each getting the support of 8 percent of respondents.
While the Manila mayor got 23 percent from the National Capital Region, he only got 9 percent in Mindanao and 5 percent each in Luzon and Visayas.
ISKO'S REGIONAL STANDING
Two vote-rich regions in Luzon are dominated by Domagoso's rivals: Ilocos, the so-called "solid North" for former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, and most of Bicol rallying for Vice President Leni Robredo, who once served as Naga representative.
"Napakaaga pa (It's too early). Voters are still thinking on their own," Ramel said when asked if the party was daunted by political and religious endorsements favoring other presidential candidates.
"I don't think they (voters) will be easily swayed by the leader of their congregations," he said.
Domagoso's camp has been playing up his Visayan roots to woo more voters in the region, underscoring in sorties that the Manila-born mayor's mother hails from Samar while his father was born in Antique.
When asked if this strategy is not working, Ramel said: "Hindi pa naman talaga siya nakaikot sa Visayas."
(He hasn't really campaigned in Visayas.)
Last year, Domagoso visited Bohol and Antique, and has been going back and forth to Cebu, the Philippines' most vote-rich province with some 3.28 million voters.
Mindanao, on the other hand, is the bailiwick of presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte, Marcos' vice presidential candidate.
"He (Domagoso) hasn't gone to Mindanao," Ramel said.
"However, there are already silent supporters na nagsasabing handa sila lumabas once na pumunta siya doon (who said that they are willing to go out to see him once he travels to Mindanao)," he said.
While Domagoso has no blood ties in Mindanao, the Manila mayor has found an ally in Maguindanao Rep. Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, a decades-long Mindanaoan politician who is being endorsed by Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) chief minister Murad Ebrahim.
In October 2021, Mangudadatu's wife and Miss Asia Pacific International 2018 Sharifa Akeel-Mangudadatu joined Aksyon Demokratiko as she seeks the gubernatorial post in Sultan Kudarat.
Rep. Mangudadatu was present during his wife's oathtaking ceremony in Manila, but did not join Domagoso's party himself as he is a part of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), the official political party of former rebel movement Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
"It's a huge factor," Ramel said when asked about the gravity of Rep. Mangudadatu's endorsement.
"Alam naman natin na 2 probinsya yung kasalukuyan nilang kinakampanyahan... Malaki yung kanilang sway," he said.
(We know that they are campaigning in 2 provinces... They hold a large sway.)
Aksyon Demokratiko said its internal surveys showing Domagoso as the "clear winner" in recent presidential debates and interviews mirror results from a mobile-based poll involving some 600,000 respondents nationwide.
Under the Tangere survey, Domagoso's "numbers have been steadily rising from 16.29 percent in January to 22.17 percent this month," according to his party.
The said survey also named former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as the frontrunner in the presidential race about 3 months before the May elections.
"Periodic surveys are snapshots of a point in time, and with 84 days to go in this campaign, voter preference are likely to shift," Ramel said.
"[This is] a phenomenon which we have seen through several elections since the fall of the Marcos dictatorship."
Domagoso, who is currently in a 2-day campaign in Samar, has repeatedly said that he would rather base his performance on the groundswell during sorties rather than pinning his hopes in pre-election surveys.
"Basta tayo diretso sa tao," he told ABS-CBN News in a chance interview in Cavite over the weekend.
(We go straight to the people.)