ANALYSIS: Pulse Asia says Sotto survey lead over Duterte 'significant'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2021 08:01 PM

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and President Rodrigo Duterte
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and President Rodrigo Duterte. Senate PRIB and Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — Senate President Vicente Sotto III has emerged as the top choice for vice president for the 2022 elections, capturing a "significant" lead over President Rodrigo Duterte in a Pulse Asia survey, the pollster said on Wednesday. 

Of 2,400 respondents polled from Sept. 6 to 11, 25 percent said they would vote Sotto, a long-time Senator and former Quezon City vice mayor, as the country’s next vice-president if the May 2022 elections were held during the survey period. 

President Rodrigo Duterte (14 percent), Manila Mayor Domagoso (12 percent), and former Senator Bongbong Marcos (12 percent) were at the second spot.
 
Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said Sotto’s lead was "statistically significant even if you apply the margin of error." 

The nationwide poll had a ± 2 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

Factoring this figure, Holmes said "Senate President Tito Sotto, if the elections were held at the time we conducted the survey, would have more than about 23 and President Duterte, if he were to run for the vice presidency the time we conducted the survey, would be about 16.5." 

"There's still a difference that's quite significant between the two," he said. 
 
The survey showed Sotto was the top choice for vice president in Metro Manila (30 percent), the rest of Luzon (29 percent), the Visayas (27 percent), Class D (25 percent), and Class E (26 percent).

Duterte was the leading candidate in Mindanao (30 percent). 
 
Holmes attributed Sotto’s strong performance to his early announcement, aside from being a long time senator and show business personality. 

"If you remember right, the first one that actually declared categorically that he would run for vice president is Senate President Tito Sotto. That came sometime in late July or mid-July if I'm not mistaken," said Pulse Asia president.

"And in the SONA that was even acknowledged by the president himself." 

Duterte, meanwhile, accepted his nomination to run for vice president just earlier this month. 

"That was beyond the survey period," Holmes said. 

"And then the other thing you should also take note if you look at the prospective contenders, some of them are basically on an even keel with regard to national prominence," he added. 

Holmes also pointed out that Sotto leads the Senate, which is investigating the Duterte administration for its COVID-19 response. 

"That has been captured in several reports by various media," he said. 
 
Prior to the survey, the President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio bared her father gave her 2 letters, one of which asked her to take Go as her running-mate should she vie for the top job. 

The other letter asked her to support a tandem of Go and himself.

For Holmes, it was "hard to say" if Duterte's lower survey score was due to his daughter's remark. 

Another event that came before the survey was the President's defense of Pharmally, the firm that the Senate is investigating for allegedly selling government overpriced and substandard COVID-19 supplies. 

In addition, the President criticized senators for the inquiry and attacked the Commission on Audit for releasing its reports, which led the public to believe government agencies were engaged in corruption. 

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III faced renewed calls of resignation or firing over the COA report. 

Sotto thanked his supporters for the latest survey results.

"I will use this confidence booster to work harder as the top official of the Senate, as I present myself to our people as a worthy and reliable candidate for VP!" he said in a statement. 

The President's spokesman Harry Roque meanwhile noted the survey was done when aspirants, including Duterte, have yet to file for their candidacies and while "uncertainties" remained about his electoral bid. 
 
"Be that as it may, the President remains the candidate to beat in the 2022 elections," Roque said in a statement. 

Duterte's decision to seek the largely ceremonial position has been met with skepticism, with critics convinced he has ambitions to retain power or remain in high office to stymie possible legal action over thousands of state killings in his notorious war on drugs.

Duterte said he wants to serve the public.

A separate survey released this week by the Social Weather Stations showed 60 percent of 1,200 respondents believed his move violates the intention of the constitution, which has a 1-term limit to prevent abuse of power. 

— Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News; Reuters 
 
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