MANILA- Political personalities seeking reelection and a return to the Senate will most likely top the senatorial elections if it were held this year, a commissioned survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed Thursday.
Billionaire Senator Cynthia Villar topped the survey with 53 percent of the intended votes for senator nationwide, SWS said.
She was followed by fellow reelectionist Senator Grace Poe and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, a former senator seeking a return to the chamber. The two are tied at 2nd and 3rd place with 43 percent each.
A Pulse Asia survey released in September also saw the 3 lawmakers as the top contenders in the Senate race.
Tied in 4th and 5th places meanwhile were reelectionist Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and former Senator Lito Lapid, who got 33 percent of the intended votes.
Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, who is seeking a political comeback after a three-year detention over plunder charges, placed 6th with 31 percent, followed by former senator and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas at 30 percent.
Reelectionist Senators Nancy Binay and Sonny Angara shared the 8th to 9th spots at 26 percent each, followed by Bureau of Corrections chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa at 25 percent.
Completing the "Magic 12" are former Senator Serge Osmeña and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos at 24 percent each.
Opposition Liberal Party (LP) bet Senator Bam Aquino came in close at the 13th spot with 22 percent of the intended votes for senator.
The survey, conducted from Sept. 15 to 23, was commissioned by Francis Tolentino, political adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte, and included 24 personalities as choices.
Tolentino, who lost his Senate bid in the May 2016 elections, placed 15th in the survey, missing the roster of 12 possible winners.
Other personalities included in the survey are the President's aide Bong Go, actress Agot Isidro, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad, LP bets Erin Tañada and Chel Diokno, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.
It was done using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide and has a 3+/- percent sampling error margin for national percentages.