By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

REELECTIONIST Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares has tied with fellow reelectionist Cynthia A. Villar on the top spot in Pulse Asia’s Pre-Electoral Nationwide Survey, about two weeks ahead of the midterm polls on May 13.

Ms. Llamanzares, the consistent topnotcher in the recent surveys, fell behind Ms. Villar by 1.2 points. Ms. Villar had a voter preference of 51.7% against Ms. Llamanzares’s 50.5%. former senator Manuel M. Lapid leapt to 3rd place from 6th in March, while reelectionist Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III now settled in 10th place after dropping out of the “Magic 12” that month.

Sought for comment, Mr. Pimentel told reporters by phone message Tuesday, “I am happy that those surveyed are aware of my qualifications for the position, remember the things I have accomplished, and have become aware of the good plans I have for our beloved country.”

Former Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. traded places with reelectionist Senator Nancy S. Binay, who is now in 9th place from 7th in March.

Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis N. Tolentino, who placed 8th in the previous poll, fell to 17th place.

The rest of the top 12 are reelectionist Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara (6th), former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence T. Go (5th), former senator and incumbent Taguig-2nd district Rep. Pia S. Cayetano (4th), Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee R. Marcos (11th), former National Police chief Ronald “Bato” M. Dela Rosa (8th) and former senator Jinggoy Estrada (12th).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, for his part, said of the predominance of administration bets in the top 12: “Ibig sabihin iyong mga tao naniniwala kay Presidente. Naniniwala siya na ang mga tao, na iyong mga ine-endorse niya kailangan ni Presidente iyon para tumulong sa kanya sa pagbabangon sa ating bansa sa ilalim ng kahirapan, ng kaguluhan at ng kung anu ano pa. It means malakas ang kanyang endorsement appeal,” Mr. Panelo told reporters in a briefing, Tuesday. (It means the public trusts President Duterte. The people believe that candidates endorsed by the President are those whom he believes will carry on his efforts to eradicate poverty and maintain peace, among others. I means his endorsement appeal is strong).

At kahit na may manalo dun sa kabila, na hindi i-endorse, sa tingin ko doon, ‘pag ikaw ay pinanalo ng taumbayan, ang mensahe sayo ‘kaya kita pinanalo diyan ay para tulungan mo iyong pinanalo namin na Presidente, hindi para manggulo ka.” (Even if candidates running against the administration bets win, I think it would mean the public elected you because they want you to help the President, not to cause trouble).