MANILA (3rd UPDATE) — Former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is still the frontrunner in the May 9 presidential race, according to the latest and final survey conducted by research firm Pulse Asia in April, results of which were released Monday.
According to the polls held April 16 to 21 among 2,400 respondents nationwide, Marcos retained his March survey rating of 56 percent.
Vice President Leni Robredo, meanwhile, got 23 percent, one point down from her rating in March.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao clinched the third spot at 7 percent, overtaking Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, who is now at fourth place with 4 percent.
According to Pulse Asia, Pacquiao gained 1 percentage point over the last month, while Domagoso's numbers decreased by 4 percentage points.
Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson remains at fifth place with 2 percent.
DUTERTE IS STILL TOP VP CHOICE
Marcos' running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, also maintained the top spot in the vice-presidential race, the latest Pulse Asia survey result showed.
Duterte-Carpio got a 55 percent rating, down by 1 point from the March survey but 37 points higher than her closest rival Senate President Vicente Sotto III. Sotto remains at second place with 18 percent.
Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan stays at third place with 16 percent, experiencing a one-point increase over the last month.
Dr. Willie Ong is at fourth place with 3 percent, followed by Manny Lopez with 1 percent, overtaking Rep. Lito Atienza at fifth place.
The survey respondents, Pulse Asia said, were 18 years old and above, who are registered voters and likely to vote in next Monday's elections.
Among the key events that happened over the survey period were the dismissal of the disqualification cases against Marcos, his family's P203-billion estate tax liabilities, Domagoso's call for Robredo to withdraw from the presidential race, the overseas absentee voting (OAV) period, and the onslaught of Tropical Storm Agaton.
Pre-election surveys can be considered "snapshots of the moment" and reflect the people's sentiments at the time these were conducted, analysts have explained.
MARCOS CAMP THANKS SUPPORTERS
Marcos' camp, reacting to the latest survey results, thanked the former senator's supporters for his 33 percent lead.
"Seven days to go before election day, the trajectory and the numbers of presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos and vice-presidential leader Sara Duterte are showing no signs of slowing down," Marcos spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said.
"For all of us in the UniTeam, the most important survey is the election day itself, thus, we call upon our countrymen to be vigilant and let us make sure that the true and genuine will of the people shall be heard, be counted, and prevail," he added.
"Please go out and vote on May 9," Rodriguez called on Marcos' supporters.
ROBREDO CAMP: NUMBERS 'ENCOURAGING'
For Robredo's camp, her numbers remain "encouraging" despite her slight drop.
"Her numbers remain encouraging, even if the survey does not yet capture the series of massive rallies from mid-April onwards, including the record-breaking 400k+ Pasay rally on April 23," Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said in a statement.
"The latest Pulse Asia survey... confirms Vice President Leni Robredo's upward trajectory and momentum," Gutierrez added.
He noted that Robredo's supporters are continuing "intensified efforts" of house-to-house and person-to-person campaigns, which he hopes will translate into votes next Monday.
"This has truly become a people's campaign, a grassroots movement of Filipinos from all walks of life and from all over the Philippines," he said.
'SURVEYS, RALLY CROWD DO NOT GUARANTEE VICTORY'
Confident he will win on May 9, Sotto, the running mate of Lacson, said pre-election surveys and large campaign rally crowds do not guarantee a candidate's victory.
"Naniniwala ako na kaya naming ipanalo ang laban na ito. Tiwala ako sa talino at kakayahan ng mga botanteng Pilipino na pumili ng tama at karapat-dapat na mga lider ng ating bansa,” Sotto said in a statement.
(We believe we will win this fight. I trust the intelligence and capabilities of Filipino voters in choosing the right leaders of our country.)
He recalled that in the 2019 polls, his nephew Vico Sotto was lagging in pre-election surveys but eventually won.
"Pagdating na ng eleksyon, nag-isip ang mga botante. Inilaban nila ang tama at nararapat," the Senate President said of that instance.
(On Election Day, the voters pondered and fought for what is right and proper.)
“Look at Pasig City now – it’s booming and has a bright future ahead. Pasigueños took a chance and they are now reaping the rewards. This is what intelligent voters bring to the table" he added.
"Kilala ng taumbayan kung sino ang tunay na magsisilbi sa kanila. Sa araw ng eleksyon, naniniwala ako na gagamitin ng ating mga kababayan ang kaniling isip at puso sa pagboto para sa mga susunod na lider na magtataguyod sa ating bansa.”
(The people know who will truly serve them. On election day, I believe that the people will use their mind and heart in voting for the next set of leaders of our country.)
MORENO CAMP: MAYOR TO 'PULL OFF' MAY 9 SURPRISE
Aksyon Demokratiko, Domagoso's party, said that they are confident that the Manila mayor will "pull off a surprise" win on election day.
"The Pulse Asia survey results is a big departure from that of Tangere's April 22 survey where Mayor Isko is at 20% and in 2nd place. We are confident still that our standard bearer will pull off a surprise on May 9," party chairperson Ernest Ramel Jr. said.
The results of Pulse Asia's April pre-election survey are "improbable," said Ramel.
"I find it (Pulse Asia survey) improbable... Medyo ang layo naman ng 4 and 20. I don't think that's an accurate number," he said.
He denied that the Easter Sunday press conference could have turned off some of Domagoso's supporters.
A political science professor at the Ateneo de Manila University said the joint press conference Domagoso's team organized last April 17 where he called on Robredo to withdraw, is to blame for the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer's waning numbers.
"This is obviously connected to the Easter Sunday press con, where he was perceived to have hijacked the discussion and called for Leni's withdrawal," Arjan Aguirre told ABS-CBN News Digital.
"It was worsened by his meltdown in the days to come, where he continued to recklessly malign and attack Leni during his interviews," he said.
'SPEAKING FROM THE HEART'
Pacquiao refused to attribute his improved ranking to his criticisms of Marcos, and credited instead the platform of government that he conveys, centered on helping the poor and curbing corruption in government.
"The magic is nagsasabi ako ng galing sa puso. Nagsasabi ako ng totoo. 'Di ako nagsasalita in a politician way, in a trapo politician na nagtatalumpati, kung ano-ano pangako." he told reporters.
(The magic is I speak from the heart. I tell the truth. I don't speak the way traditional politicians talk, promising anything.)
"Kung ako, ano nasa puso ko, sinasabi ko sa tao. Kasi ramdam ko yung nararamdaman na paghihirap ng sambayanang Pilipino, kaya ganito si MP," he added.
(In my case, I tell the people what's in my heart. Because I feel how the poor Filipinos feels, that's why I am like this.)
He cited his visits to villages, saying he has been targeting the grassroots from the start of his campaign as he did in 2016 when he ran for senator.
The April survey is Pulse Asia's last in its series for the upcoming national and local elections.
— with reports from Adrian Ayalin, Ina Reformina, Katrina Domingo, and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News
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