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Duterte keeps lead as Poe, Binay, Roxas see victory; Leni catches up on Marcos



MANILA (via PhilAmPress) ―The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is in readiness for the national and local elections on May 9 while the Philippine National Police has alerted all police officers and men to maintain peace and order during the winding up of the campaign and during the election day and canvassing itself.


At stake in the election are the country’s next leader, the President, Vice President, 12 Senators, some 200 congressmen and 50 party-list representatives and local officials like the governor, vice governor, Sangguniang Panlalawigan members, and the city and municipal mayors and councilors.


(Photo from the Official Facebook Page of Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte)


Only less than a week before the elections, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, despite being under attack from all his rivals for alleged misdeeds, has remained the top choice for president among voters if the latest Pulse Asia and the Laylo surveys are to be the gauge, and if, there will be no major changes in the political landscape going into the polls, he appeared to be headed to be the country’s next leader, while the vice presidency is being contested by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Rep. Maria Lourdes “Leni” Robredo.



In the Senate race, the likely winners based on the surveys are Senators Vicente Sotto, Fanklin Drilon, former Senator Francis Pangilinan, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, former Senator Panfilo Lacson, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, former PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros, former TESDA chief Joel Villanueva, Senator Sergio Osmeña, former Senator Richard Dick Gordon, former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Senator Ralph Recto and Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian.


This developed as the influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), with a bloc voting strength of at least 1.5 million, has endorsed the candidacy of Mayor Duterte for president and Senator Marcos for vice president. 


Also endorsed by the group are senatorial candidates Villanueva, Drilon and Recto of LP, Sotto of NPC, Pacquiao of UNA, former Sen.  Gordon (Ind.), Hontiveros (Akbayan), Gatchalian (NPC), Zubiri, Lacson, lawyer Francis Tolentino and Rep. Martin Romualdez of Lakas. The INC did not endorse De Lima Pangilinan and Osmena, 


INC announced its endorsement through a circular read during worship service by executive minister Eduardo Manalo, who called on the sect’s members to vote as one on May 9.


“This is based on the teachings in the Bible that were taught to us even before we were accepted as members of the Church of Christ. We have faith that it is God’s teaching that there shouldn’t be division among us, but that we should be one in thinking and one in judgment,” Manalo said in Filipino.


“This is a big boost to our campaign particularly to thwart attempts by the administration to cheat the elections,” said Peter Tiu Lavina, Duterte’s spokesperson, in reaction to the INC endorsement.


“This endorsement shows that Duterte’s advocacy for Tunay Na Pagbabago has resonated to almost all our people and all our church formations affected by the rising crimes and drugs, continuing corruption and government neglect, poverty and sufferings of our people,” Lavina said.


“These issues are close to the hearts of our moral leaders and the various churches have their own campaigns to end this malady,” he added.


Drilon, Pangilinan, de Lima, Villanueva and Recto are under the administration party, while Sotto and Gatchalian are under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).Pacquiao is with UNA, Hontiveros with Akbayan, while Lacson, Zubiri, Osmeña and Gordon filed their certificates of candidacy as independent.


With an unprecedented 45 percent of positions uncontested, including that of former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the second district of Pampanga and Pampanga Governor Lilia G. Pineda who are both unopposed, the campaign appeared more peaceful than those of previous elections as only 30 or so candidates and supporters have died due to election violence.


There are several provinces and other localities declared as election hot spots, including the entire Central Luzon and the vote-rich provinces of Pangasinan.


For the Comelec, it is all systems go for the May 9 presidential, senatorial, congressional and local elections even an election watchdog, the PPRCV, has complained of being left out in the preparation for the elections and former Senator Richard Gordon, author of the Automated Election Law, and other watchdogs have warned that several measures to protect the election have not been complied with by the poll agency, thus opening possible cheating in the elections.


Cheating already has been confirmed in several polling places for overseas voters as many have complained that while they voted for a certain presidential candidate, they votes were counted or credited to another candidate. Poll officials, however, claimed that these were isolated cases only. Netizens have resorted to social media to expose alleged cheating while other voters bewailed their names were not included in the list of registered voters.


Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) expressed misgivings over Bautista's readiness pronouncements for the election, however. 

PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa told journalists about what she sees as a "deadly combination" to enforce changes in the election process, including replacing ballots and also Comelec's lack of transparency on the deployment of vote count machines, election paraphernalia and other supplies to various regional poll hubs nationwide.


Compared to the first two automated polls held in 2010 and 2013, the Comelec is more prepared to conduct the May 9 elections, according to Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista.


"I believe that when we compare our preparations to the preparations of the Comelec in 2010 and 2013, I can say that we are better prepared now for our elections,” said  Bautista during the Final Testing and Sealing (FTS) of vote counting machines (VCMs) at the Araullo High School in Ermita, Manila.


Bautista reported that they are performing better in terms of preparing for the May 9 elections based on their Key Performance Indicators checklist.


The poll body chief noted the record-breaking completion of the printing and verification of the official ballots by the National Printing Office (NPO) in 49 days.


Bautista said they are set to complete the deployment of the official ballots while all the VCMs have been deployed in the seven regional hubs, namely: La Union, Laguna, Albay, Cebu, Zamboanga del Sur, Misamis Oriental, and South Cotabato.


Aside from the VCMs to be used in all polling precincts, the poll body also deployed to the regional hubs a total of 5,000 replacement VCMs.


Meanwhile, the Comelec–National Capital Region (NCR) held the FTS in the cities of Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, and Pasig. During the FTS, representatives of PPRCV, however, bewailed that while the polls were supposed to open at 8 a.m., many polls opened only by noonor thereabouts.


Comelec–NCR Director Atty. Temie Lambino said FTS will also be conducted in other cities of Metro Manila until May 5.


A total of 17 VCMs have been successfully tested and sealed by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) at the Araullo High School.


After the VCM has undergone the FTS, it will only be opened on Election Day at the start of the voting.


According to the latest Pulse Asia survey sponsored by ABS-CBN and conducted on April 26 to 29 with 4,000 voters, one in three Filipinos, or 33 percent, picked Duterte as the country's next leader. Duterte's rating was the same as in the previous survey conducted on April 19 to 24.


In the same survey, Sen. Grace Poe and administration candidate Mar Roxas are statistically tied at 22 and 21 percent with 1.5 percent margin of error and are both 11 percent to 12 percent behind Mayor Duterte. Vice President Jejomar Binay dropped to fourth with 17 percent while Sen. Santiago remained last with two percent.


Another survey by another research firm confirmed leadership of Duterte but the rankings for the other candidates for president and vice president were different.


Despite of the survey results, Vice President Binay, Sen. Poe and Roxas expressed optimism and said they were confident that they will eventually be declared the winner “in the final survey on May 9.”


In the final Laylo-Standard national survey conducted between April 7 and May 1, Duterte got 32 % while Senator Poe and  Roxas were in a statistical tie in second place with 25% and 22%, respectively.  Binay is in fourth place with 15%, followed by Defensor Santiago with 2%.


Based on the Pulse Asia survey, Duterte still leads Mindanao, keeping his 58% rating from the previous survey. Duterte also led the National Capital Region (NCR) with 40%, up from his 34% rating in the previous survey. The NCR margin of error is 4.6%. The NCR has 6,253,249 registered voters for the 2016 elections while Mindanao has 12,629,265.


Poe took Luzon with 28%, while Roxas has Visayas with 38%. In the previous ABS-CBN Pulse Asia survey, Poe rated 29% in Luzon while Roxas polled 37% in the Visayas. Balance Luzon has the biggest number of registered voters, 24,164,541 while Visayas has 11,316,789 registered voters.


By social class, Duterte is the favorite of classes ABC and the biggest voting bloc D (37% and 33%, respectively) while he shares the statistical lead in Class E with Roxas (31% and 24%).


(Photo from the Official Facebook Page of Senator Grace Poe)


Poe is still the top alternative candidate for President, according to the survey.


Robredo is now the choice for vice-president of 30% of respondents, which is 4 points higher than her rating in the previous ABS-CBN Pulse Asia survey. 


Marcos is the choice of 28%, down 3 points from the previous survey. On the other hand, Senators Francis Escudero (18%) and Alan Peter Cayetano (15%) didn't see changes in their ratings. Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Gringo Honasan had 3% and 2% ratings, respectively. 


In the senatorial race, Pulse Asia showed reelectionist Sen. Vicente Sotto leading the pact with former Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Franklin Drilon, former Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and boxing icon Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao coming in next in the top 5 in that order. The same ranking was confirmed by the Social Weather Station earlier and the Pulso ng Pilipino of the Issues and Advocacy Center.


Others in the winning column for senator in the Pulso survey are former senator Francis Pangilinan, Sen. Ralph Recto, Sen. Serge Osmeña, Emmanuel Villanueva, Francis Tolentino, Leila de Lima, and Ferdinand Romualdez. Former Senator Richard Gordon figured prominently in the Top 12 in the Pulse Asia and SWS surveys.


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