Team PNoy takes the lead in latest SWS-BW poll

Posted on February 26, 2013

AN ADMINISTRATION-LED coalition has taken the lead in the race for the so-called Magic 12 Senate seats, a Social Weather Stations-BusinessWorld survey taken just after campaigning officially began showed.

The Feb. 15-17 nationwide poll -- conducted after candidates were proclaimed on Feb. 12 -- found four Team PNoy, one United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and three independent candidates as likely taking the top eight seats.

Four UNA and three Team PNoy bets, meanwhile, are statistically in the running for the last four seats.

Several candidates of the ruling Liberal Party-led coalition saw significant gains, among them President Benigno "Noynoy" S. C. Aquino III's cousin, Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, who was ranked 9th-10th after not placing higher than 15th in the last four SWS-BW surveys.

Fellow Team PNoy bet Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" M. Angara, son of outgoing Sen. Edgardo J. Angara and in the likely winner's circle only during the first poll, also returned to contention in 11th-12th place.

Both dislodged UNA candidates Cagayan Rep. Juan Ponce "Jack" Enrile, Jr., who fell to 13th from 8th-9th in the last poll, and reelectionist Sen. Gregorio "Gringo" B. Honasan, now in 15th place from 5th-6th. Mr. Enrile, the son of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, has seen his rankings fall since the start of the survey series.

Not all UNA bets saw their fortunes fall, however. Ma. Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, the daughter of Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay and a political neophyte, gained five places to 7th.

The top three spots, meanwhile, continued to be held by reelectionist senators Loren B. Legarda of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Francis Joseph "Chiz" G. Escudero (independent) and Alan Peter C. Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party-PNoy.

Ms. Legarda and Mr. Escudero, as well as former censors board Chief Grace Poe-Llamanzares, used to be shared by Team PNoy and UNA until they were dropped by the latter last week for not attending campaign sorties. Ms. Llamanzares, who was the surprise gainer in the last survey, improved to 5th-6th from 10th-11th.

In fourth place was former Las Piñas City Rep. Cynthia A. Villar (NP-PNoy), wife of outgoing Sen. Manuel B. Villar, Jr., who improved from 8th-9th.

Tied with Ms. Poe for 5th-6th was Senator Aquilino Martin "Koko" D. Pimentel III (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan-PNoy), who was the only candidate in the "Magic 12," aside from the top three, who kept his ranking from last month.

Seventh place, as earlier mentioned, went to Ms. Binay, who was followed by reelectionist Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV (NP-PNoy) who rose to 8th place from 10th-11th last month.

In joint 9th-10th were San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito (UNA), son of former president Joseph E. Estrada, and Mr. Aquino (LP-PNoy). The February result is the lowest rank so far for Mr. Ejercito, who was 4th in January, and the highest for Mr. Aquino, who was 15th last month and 17th in two earlier surveys.

Sharing 11th-12th places, meanwhile, were Mr. Angara of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino-PNoy and former senator Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri (UNA). Mr. Angara, who was 5th-7th in August 2012, was 13th in the January 2013 survey where Mr. Zubiri placed 7th.

Falling below the top 12, but still within contention according to the SWS, were Mr. Enrile, former senator Maria Consuelo "Jamby" A. Madrigal (LP) and Mr. Honasan in 13th, 14th and 15th places, respectively.

The February survey result was the first time that Mr. Enrile and Mr. Honasan fell out of the top 12. Ms. Madrigal, meanwhile, improved from 17th last month.


Statistically below 12th, meanwhile, were former senator Ramon "Jun" B. Magsaysay, Jr. (LP, 16th), former senator Richard "Dick" J. Gordon (UNA, 17th), former Akbayan Rep. Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros-Baraquel (Akbayan, 18th) and former senator Ernesto "Manong Ernie" M. Maceda (UNA, 19th). Twentieth to 22nd places were shared by the president's aunt, Margarita "Tingting" Cojuangco (UNA), former presidential candidate Eduardo "Bro. Eddie" C. Villanueva (Bangon Pilipinas) and Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros Esperanza "Mitos" Magsaysay (UNA). Palawan Mayor Edward "Ed" S. Hagedorn was 23rd.

Rounding out the senatorial preference list, with scores in the single digits, were party list Rep. Teodoro "Teddy" A. Casiño (Makabayan), Rizalito "Bro. Lito Yap David" David (Ang Kapatiran), Ramon "Mon" Montaño (independent), John Carlos "JC" de los Reyes (Ang Kapatiran), Richard "Dick" Penson (independent), Samson "Sammy" Alcantara (Social Justice Society), Greco Antonious Beda "Greco" Belgica (Democratic Party of the Philippines), Christian Señeres (DPP), Baldohero "Balc" Falcone (DPP) and Marwil "Bro. Mars Llasos" Llasos (Ang Kapatiran).

The February 2013 SWS-BW pre-election survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 registered voters nationwide. The error margins used were ±3% for national and ±6 for area percentages.

In the latest poll, some 2% of the respondents either had no answer or were undecided, similar to the previous month's result.

Those who chose a full slate of 12, meanwhile, dipped to 47% from 50% previously, but the average number of names chosen was unchanged from 9.4. Four percent of the respondents were ruled to have handed in invalid ballots.

The respondents were asked: "Kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon, sino ang pinakamalamang ninyong iboboto bilang mga senador ng Pilipinas? Narito ang listahan ng mga kandidato. Paki-shade o itiman po ang naangkop na oval katabi ng pangalan ng taong pinakamalamang ninyong iboboto. Maaari po kayong pumili ng hanggang 12 pangalan. (If the elections were held today, whom would you most probably vote for as senators of the Philippines? Here is a list of candidates. Please shade the oval beside the names of the persons you would most likely vote for. You can choose up to 12 names.)"

Candidate names were presented in alphabetical order and included nicknames. The respondents were allowed to fill in their ballots in private and then deposit it in a container brought by the interviewer.


Sought for comment, political analyst Ramon C. Casiple claimed the gains of Ms. Poe and Mr. Aquino were influenced by their "underdog" status, while Mr. Enrile and Mr. Honasan had been affected by a fund use squabble in the Senate.

"The people are now recognizing Grace Poe as the daughter of FPJ (movie actor and 2004 presidential contender Fernando Poe, Jr.). She is the beneficiary of the reservoir goodwill after (former president Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo cheated in the 2004 elections," Mr. Casiple said.

"Bam, well, he is an Aquino. He bears the name of the president&... The others were still based on name recall, but we expect this to change by April," he added.

Team PNoy spokesman and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo R. Tañada III, meanwhile, claimed the results were an indication that the people were "embracing the candidates" supported by the president.

UNA spokesman and Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco declined to comment. None of the UNA bets were immediately available for statements.

Ms. Legarda, for her part, said the results would prod her to "work harder." Ms. Poe and Ms. Villar said they were also thankful for the "encouraging results."

Mr. Aquino said: "This is great news considering we were at 24th place a few months back. Our message of providing more jobs and support for entrepreneurs must be resonating with our people."

Half of the Senate's 24 seats are up for grabs in the May 13 elections, where Filipinos will also choose a new House of Representatives and local officials from the municipal level up.

The election period officially began on Jan. 13, but campaigning for national posts -- in this case for the Senate and party list slots for the House of Representatives -- started Feb. 12. -- Noemi M. Gonzales