FOUR of the seven incumbent senators running for reelection in the scheduled May 13, 2019 national mid-term elections are certain of getting reelected if the elections are held today.
This forecast is based on the results of the Pulso ng Pilipino pre-poll senatorial survey that the Issues and Advocacy Center (The CENTER) conducted from Nov. 12-18, 2018.
The four shoo-in winners will most likely be joined in the Senate when the 18th Congress opens on July 23, 2019 by six other former senators and most probably by a former Philippine National Police Director General and the former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority.
The Center said the results were culled from among 1,200 respondents that were pro-rated based on the distribution of registered voters nationwide. The survey has a confidence level of 98 percent and a margin of error of + 3.5%.
In its list of senatorial aspirants who emerged as the most likely to make it to the winner’s circle if the elections were to be held today are: Sen. Grace Llamanzares Poe (independent) who posted 61 percent and is in a statistical tie with Sen. Cynthia Villar (NP) who registered 59.8 percent.
In third place is former senator and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano (NP) with 56 percent while Sen. Nancy Binay (UNA) is in fourth with 49 percent. Former Senate President Koko Pimentel (PDP Laban) is fifth with 45 percent.
Tied in sixth to seventh places are former senators Lito Lapid (NPC) with 41.5 percent and Serge Osmeña (independent) with 40 percent. Another former senator, Jinggoy Estrada (PMP) is in eighth place with 36.8 percent and former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino (PDP Laban) is in the ninth position with 31 percent.
Former PNP Director General Bato dela Rosa (PDP Laban) is in a strong position in 10th place with 28 percent while former Sen. Mar Roxas (LP) who lost in the 2016 presidential elections is in 11th position with 26.7 percent. Sen. Sonny Angara (LDP) rounded up the Magic 12 with 24 percent.
Former Sen. Bong Revilla (Lakas CMD) is in 13th to 14th place with 22.8 percent in a tie with Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (NP) who posted 22.5 percent. Former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go (PDP Laban) has steadily climbed up the rankings and is now in 15th to 16th place with 19 percent and is in a tie with Sen. JV Ejercito (PDP Laban) with 18.7 percent.
Sen. Bam Aquino is locked in a tie at 17th to 18th place with former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile (PMP) with 14.8%.
Lagging behind are Rep. Gary Alejano (LP - 12%), former Rep. Neri Colmenares (MKBYN-10%), former DILG Secretary Raffy Alunan (BGMBYN -9%), former Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque (PRP - 8.7%), broadcaster Lito David (independent - 7.5%) and former Quezon Rep. Erin Tanada (LP) in 24th place with six percent.
The survey also showed that the performance rating of President Duterte remains at very good with 54 percent of those surveyed saying they are satisfied with his showing notwithstanding the controversies surrounding his style of governance.
Interestingly, this is also the first time in the country’s political history that all top five government officials scored positive ratings in the survey.
Notwithstanding the communications campaign launched by the Duterte administration to inform the Filipino public of the proposed switch in the form of government from the current presidential form to a federal government, some 41 percent said they are not in favor of amending the Constitution to give way to a change in the government setup with only 29 percent saying otherwise.
The other 30% said they don’t know. This rather high percentage of those who said they don’t know is probably brought about by the high percentage in the level of those who are not aware or are not familiar with the proposed transition to the federal form of government.
The CENTER said the senatorial race will be interesting when the official campaign period for national candidates starts on Feb. 11, 2019. While there certainly will be some movements when it comes to the positioning even for those in the top six slates, the chances of those in the seventh to 12th positions will depend to a large degree on their campaign strategy and their political network. The same could be true with those who are currently perched from the 13th to 24th positions.
Even more interesting will be the fight for the Senate presidency once the smoke of the 2019 electoral battle clears. Much will depend on the numbers that each of the political parties will be able to send to the 18th Senate to join the rest of the incumbent senators whose term will end in 2022 (Senate President Tito Sotto, Senators Ralph Recto, Migz Zubiri, Frank Drilon, Leila de Lima, Sherwin Gatchalian, Dick Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Ping Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Kiko Pangilinan and Joel Villanueva.)
The CENTER also said the impact of the recent conviction of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos by the Sandiganbayan may have affected the campaign of Gov. Imee Marcos who slid down to a tie for 13th to 14th place.
On the other hand, the strong showing of Dela Rosa can be attributed to the network and the high visibility that he has established while he was still the country’s top cop.
The same is true with Tolentino whose increased visibility boosted his campaign following his designation as the alter-ego of the President in the ongoing rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas particularly in Northern Luzon and in the Visayas.
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