MANILA (UPDATE) - Reelectionist Senators Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar continued to lead in the most recent Pulse Asia survey for the May 13 midterm elections, with long-time presidential aide Christopher "Bong" Go making it to the "magic 12" for the first time.
Go, who was in the 14th to 16th bracket in the December survey, placed 6th-12th in the survey taken from January 26 to 31, or around 2 weeks before the start of the campaign period for national candidates.
Support for Go increased by 14 percentage points from December 2018.
His Senate bid has drawn criticism due to his close association with President Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly endorsed him in his public engagements.
“Malaking bagay po ang pagtitiwala sa atin ni Pangulong Duterte,” Go said in a statement Friday. “Lalaban po tayo ng patas at naaayon sa batas."
(President Duterte's trust is a big factor. We will fight fairly and follow the law.)
Go has spearheaded the launch of so-called Malasakit Centers around the country, a one-stop shop for the poor who need medical aid and other social interventions.
Go said the survey results inspire him to work even harder to present his advocacy to serve the Filipino people.
“Dagdag na inspirasyon po ito para lalo akong magsumikap na maipaabot sa ating mga kababayan ang ating plano na ituloy ang serbisyong tatak-Duterte para sa tuloy-tuloy na pagbabago,” he added.
(This is added inspiration for me to be more diligent to bring our plans to the people and continue the Duterte brand of service for continuing change.)
At the same time, Go reiterated his earlier call for his supporters to follow election rules and promote fair and honest elections.
Aside from Go, only 2 other newcomers had a "statistical chance" of winning a Senate seat in the January 2019 survey--Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa.
Marcos ranked 7th-15th while Dela Rosa was in the 11th to 16th bracket in the January 2019 survey. Both of them have also been endorsed by President Duterte.
TOP AD SPENDERS RISE
Go and Marcos, the top political advertisement spenders, both saw an improvement in their respective rankings as seen in the survey.
Go spent a whopping P422 million on pre-campaign period political advertisements from January 2018 up to last month, a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism report revealed.
His spending was, however, in sharp contrast with his net worth, which he said is at P12 million.
"Put another way, he bought political ads 32.9 times in value compared to his total personal wealth. Minus all that he owns, P409.6 million was the unfunded balance of his ad buys that Go might have paid using money from either public or private sources," the PCIJ report stated.
Marcos, meanwhile, shelled out over P412 million in political ads, making her the second top spender.
Her expenses were also a far cry from her P24-million declared net worth.
"Her adspend comes up to 1,687 percent of her net worth; her adspend deficit, minus all her declared wealth, amounts to P388,666,931," PCIJ said.
REELECTIONISTS STILL ON TOP
Poe held on to the top spot with 74.9 percent of respondents supporting her reelection bid.
Billionaire lawmaker Villar followed with 60.5 percent of respondents in favor of her reelection bid.
Tied at 3rd to 6th place were former Senators Pia Cayetano and Lito Lapid.
From the opposition slate, only former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino made it to the winning bracket.
Roxas was in 7th to 14th place while Aquino was in the 10th to 15th bracket. Both are from the opposition Otso Diretso Senate slate, which is backed by Vice President Leni Robredo.
Other probable winners are reelectionist Senators Nancy Binay (3rd to 7th), Sonny Angara (3rd to 9th), and Koko Pimentel (5th to 11th); pork-tainted former Senators Jinggoy Estrada (6th-12th) and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. (8th-15th), and former senator Serge Osmeña (10th to 15th).
The survey, conducted from Jan. 26 to 31, used face-
to-face interviews with 1,800 likely voters and has a +/-2.3 percent margin of error.
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