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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, April 1, 2016
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Poe's rating surges


After they heard Senator Grace Poe the other week, members of the Makati Business Club came out with a succinct but weighty assessment and conclusion: they are happy with presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe.

She was alone with the leading business and economic leaders who asked her about her plans in the event she is elected. After she spoke she was asked specific questions and she replied without notes or documents or hesitations. This performance impressed the very discerning businessmen. She gave credible and acceptable answers that the moguls of business and industry considered a Grace Poe government is one they can be “happy” with.

For a candidate considered a neophyte her direct, categorical, frank and assured replies show that indeed, as she told MBC, “I have done my homework”. This satisfied and pleased her very discriminating and calculating audience. In effect she went directly into the proverbial lion's den where her rival Mar Roxas is supposed to be one among them and their darling.

She told the Philippine's economic giants that she will initiate action during the first months of her administration to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution to bring in more investments but with safeguards to insure that the national wealth is protected and developed for the Filipinos.

The response of the MBC and the most recent result of the SWS survey are indications of the rising tide of support for Grace Poe. She surged to 35 percent in the survey, leaving behind her next rival, Rodrigo Duterte with a 9 percent difference. Vice President Binay remains the third but he is statistically tied with Mar Roxas who is at the 4 th place. Miriam Santiago lost one point and dropped to a meager 2 percent.

Significantly, Binay's vaunted core of voters that gave him earlier surveys up to 25 percent to place second to Poe has splintered with his latest 18 percent. Mar Roxas suffered heavily with more than 4 percent drop in his rating to settle at No. 4 with 17 percent.

Another boost to Poe's support came last Monday when Manila Mayor Erap Estrada declared support for her. She also raised the former President's hands in a show of solidarity. Erap's leaders in Negros told me they were waiting for his decision when I invited them to join us.

I was out to the south last weekend and I noticed that there were more Poe posters than Mar's, followed by Binay's and just a few for Duterte. I was wondering who could be campaigning in such a massive way. Then I saw the posters of Magdalo vice presidential candidate Senator Antonio Trillanes and AbangLingkod, both strong supporters of Senator Poe. Now I know why Poe's posters and other campaign materials are going out fast.

Vic Mercado of “Mercado Publico” radio program said his land trip in Luzon during the Holy Week break was an eye opener. He saw the extent of Poe's support in places he visited and along the highways.

This explains why the surveys tell us that Poe is getting this surging support. The endorsement of Erap carries a lot of weight and this will impact more in Metro Manila and further increase Poe's popularity there.

The other day I had an opportunity to talk with some political leaders and soon we will know the changes in this part of the country – a defection from other parties to Poe's bandwagon. Some names are leaking out from other sources but they all tell a story – a slow but steady movement towards support for Poe.

Mar Roxas belittled Erap's endorsement but this is just another expected reaction. His own comic book story where he came out the hero in the Yolanda typhoon reaped a downpour of criticisms for twisting the facts. This is another faux pas that can only erode his public trust rating. Or is this a panic reaction? After all the largesse of government had been distributed his rating slid down behind Binay's.

A Manila political analyst advised that Roxas should not rely on the so-called “command votes” that mayors and governments and other politicians holding positions in government will mobilize. Some time back Mar asked his party mates to at least come out into the open. Indeed they should but most are reluctant because of certain circumstances, like holding back the funds for their towns or cities or fear of retaliation. Indeed if he has the vote, his ratings should have been going up not down.*

(Mr. Sa-onoy is the Provincial Coordinator of the ALL4GP group in Negros Occidental.)



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