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By Imee Charlee C. Delavin, Reporter

Top-of-mind presidential contenders bared

Posted on December 22, 2014

VICE-PRESIDENT Jejomar C. Binay, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares as well as Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” A. Roxas II emerged as people’s top three favorites to succeed President Benigno S.C. Aquino III in 2016, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said in a new report.

Results of a Nov. 27-Dec. 1 survey among 1,800 respondents nationwide -- with sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages; ±6% each for Metro Manila, “Balance Luzon” and Mindanao; and ±3% for the Visayas -- had 37% of respondents saying Mr. Binay should become president in 2016, 21% named Ms. Poe-Llamanzares and 19% said it should be Mr. Roxas.

Other people on the list were Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (10%); Senator Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero as well as former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada each with 9%; Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV each with 5%; Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. and Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano each with 3%; as well as former senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr., Sen. Ramon “Bong” B. Revilla Jr. and Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Panfilo M. Lacson with 2% each.

Mentioned by one percent each were Senator Loren B. Legarda, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis N. Pangilinan and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao.

SWS noted that 8% had no one to recommend and 15% could not give an answer.

Respondents were not given a list of names to choose from, and were instead asked: “According to the Constitution, the term of Pres. Noynoy Aquino is up to 2016 only, and there will be an election for a new president in May 2016. Who do you think are the good leaders who should succeed Pres. Aquino as president? You may give up to three names.”

Malacañang said while the survey “showed the public’s preference”, the focus should still be on continuing reforms, while one analyst described the result as “expected for both the vice-president and Senator Poe, but surprising for Mr. Roxas, who had a low rating as presidential candidate in previous surveys.”

Ramon C. Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said in a text message: “The survey does not affect the eventual outcome of the 2016 presidential election. It is too early. However, it presents the possible serious candidates in the perception of the voting public.”

Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma, Jr. said: “While this recent survey provides an indication of voter preferences, our focus is not on the popularity of possible candidates but on implementation of vital reforms and attainment of the goals of the Philippine development plan.”

Cavite Governor Juanito Victor “Jonvic” C. Remulla, a spokesman of Mr. Binay, said via text: “The VP is elated that despite the endless and baseless attacks against him, the public still shows overwhelming support for his leadership. The VP is looking forward to 2016 when he can lead this country to its next level of growth and prosperity.” Another Binay spokesman, Joey S. J. Salgado, said: “We do expect our political detractors to intensify their campaign of lies in 2015 in a final act of desperation. The vice-president has expressed readiness to face his accusers in the proper and legal forum...”

Sought for comment, Ms. Poe-Llamanzares said: “I am grateful to our countrymen for their trust and affirmation. At this point, though... I am pursuing legislation which I feel will have a greater positive impact on majority of our countrymen... like [those on] peace and order and child hunger. Personal political plans are not my priority.”