MANILA (UPDATE) — Unlike his standing in pre-election surveys by independent research firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations, former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay is, so far, out of the Magic 12 in the senatorial race based on the partial unofficial tally of votes cast during Monday's elections.
As of 5:17 p.m. of Tuesday, with 98.01 percent of Election Returns transmitted, Binay is only in 13th place, with 13.15 million votes.
Days after he registered his candidacy for senator in October last year, the 79-year-old longtime politician comfortably ranked 6-7 in the senatorial preferences survey of SWS.
His rankings gradually declined month by month, until he reached 8-12 in Pulse Asia's last pre-election survey conducted in April.
Sought for comment on Binay's current standing, Pulse Asia Research President Ronald Holmes said that the former vice president's ranking could "easily go up or down" depending on the command votes or movements of other candidates.
The firm's director, Ana Tabunda, noted that many voters decide on their final list of senatorial candidates in the last one or two days before elections.
In the homestretch of the campaign, former deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Mocha Uson questioned Binay's health condition before the poll body. Binay's camp called it a smear campaign because surveys showed he could clinch a Senate seat.
An analyst said the issue raised by Uson could explain Binay's current standing in the partial and unofficial count, wherein he trails former senator Jinggoy Estrada who is at 12th place. They have a 1.7 million vote difference.
"It might have affected especially when you're standing between 8-12 [in the survey]. It creates a certain effect on his last push, which is the most important part -- last two weeks of the campaign," Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute, said in a phone interview, adding that placing 8-12 in the senatorial survey is always "dangerous."
"It is possible that the attack... against [former] VP Binay added to the decline of his downhill standing," Manhit said, noting the large social media following of Uson.
He also said that Binay's opponents in the race could have become more aggressive in campaigning.
"It's reality you're on top of preferences because you're on top of mind. Pero when the campaign starts, it has to be compared with other candidates. And with that comparison, at times it's possible that other competitors became more aggressive," he said.
Binay, who served as Makati City mayor for a long time before becoming Vice President in 2010-2016, ran for senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party.
He was included in the slates of presidential aspirants Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Manny Pacquiao as guest candidate. It was also reported that he was running under the slate of the tandem of Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
However, he did not join the rallies of the said groups based on their agreement, said Joey Salgado, Binay's spokesman, in a statement debunking Uson's allegation about his health condition.
Instead, he embarked on his own campaign activities, including those held in Isabela, Cagayan, Davao City, in Region 12, and Pampanga, among others, said Salgado.
Binay has 2.5 million followers on Facebook and more than 326,000 on Twitter where he regularly posts updates about his activities and other developments, including the endorsement he got from the Iglesia Ni Cristo and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
ABS-CBN News reached out to the camp of Binay to get their assessment about his efforts to win the senatorial race. They have yet to reply.
But on his Facebook page, the former vice president issued a statement Tuesday afternoon thanking all those who were part of his campaign.
"Anuman ang maging resulta ng halalan, patuloy pa rin po tayong maglilingkod at laging handang tumulong sa ating mga kababayan," he said.
(Whatever the results of the elections will be, I will continue to be of service to our fellow countrymen and always be ready for it.)
"Dalangin ko ang isang magandang bukas para sa bansang Pilipinas," he added.
(I pray for a beautiful future for the Philippines.)
His daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, also acknowledged the efforts of his campaign volunteers, saying, "Sa kabila ng iba’t ibang hamon, sa kabila ng pandemya, sa gitna ng maraming balakid, nakapag-ikot tayo sa buong bansa at naipahatid ang mensahe ng aking Ama, ang dating VP Jojo Binay."
(Amid the challenges and the pandemic, we were able to visit different parts of the country and deliver the message of may father, former VP Jojo Binay.)
Nancy's term, her second in the upper chamber of Congress, ends in 2025.
When he filed his candidacy last year, the older Binay said what prompted him to run again for office is how Filipinos "have been deeply neglected."
"The first priority should be helping the 4 million Filipinos who lost their jobs, the over 3 million families who are experiencing hunger, and the thousands of small businesses who had no choice but to close down," he said then in a statement.
Binay has been vocal about his displeasure about the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2016, Binay failed in his presidential bid. He also lost in his congressional run in Makati City during the 2019 midterm elections.
Leading so far in this year's senatorial race is actor Robin Padilla, followed by Loren Legarda and Raffy Tulfo.
For live election results, see ABS-CBN News Halalan results.
For other updates, visit ABS-CBN News' live blog here.
FROM THE ARCHIVES