MANILA—A mistimed campaign message and President Rodrigo Duterte’s prominence in the news in March pulled down Mar Roxas’ performance in last month’s polls, analysts said Thursday.
The former senator slipped 4 notches in the latest survey for senatorial candidates, ranking 11th to 16th, behind reelectionists and administration-backed candidates.
Roxas’ voter support dropped 8-and-a-half percentage points to 31.3 percent in a Pulse Asia study conducted from March 23 to 27.
“He’s been focusing on economic issues, but the period when the survey was done also saw the news where the country was seen as ‘doing well’ in the economy,” political analyst Edmund Tayao told ABS-CBN News, referring to Roxas’ platform on economic improvement.
News about slowing inflation and the Philippine peso emerging as the “best performing currency in Asia” came out in March and “somehow negates” Roxas’ campaign thrust, Tayao added.
The survey was also conducted at a time Duterte dominated the headlines.
“It’s the president’s birth month and so there were some news how he celebrated it, not to mention the release of the so-called narco list,” Tayao said.
Roxas’ involvement in the “non-performance” of the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III continues to be a “big burden,” said Ramon Casiple, chairman of Institute for Political and Electoral Reform.
Roxas was interior secretary when 44 elite troopers were massacred by insurgents in Mamasapano due to lack of coordination between the military and police.
He also served as transportation chief at a time when the MRT was plagued by maintenance issues.
“Negative campaigning against the opposition is affecting him,” Casiple said.
Roxas, Duterte’s closest rival in the 2016 presidential elections, has become the President’s “favorite punching bag,” Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said.
In the first week of March, Duterte criticized Roxas’ track record in government and told the former Liberal Party standard bearer that he should “work as a traffic aide” instead.
Duterte was referring to a 2009 video of Roxas trying to manage vehicular traffic in the rain during the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address.
“Whatever the particular reason is, the President’s popularity remains and so has an impact on the ‘winnability’ of opposition candidates,” Tayao said.