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No opposition figure enters ‘Magic 12’ survey for next year’s senatorial vote


By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter

NOT a single politician allied to the opposition camp entered the so-called Magic 12 for next year’s Senate race in the latest Pulse Asia Research, Inc. survey.

ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin T. Tulfo, a Cabinet official under the Duterte administration, topped Pulse Asia’s survey of 1,200 adult Filipinos from Mar. 6 to 10, with 57.1 percentage points.

He was followed by former Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III with (51.8) and former President Rodrigo R. Duterte (47.7), Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go (44.2), Senator Pilar Juliana “Pia” S. Cayetano (37.7), and former Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao (33.7).

Also included in the Magic 12 were Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Senator Maria Imelda “Imee” R. Marcos, former Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” D. Moreno, broadcaster Ben Tulfo, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., and Makati Mayor Abby Binay.

Just outside the top 12 were former Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, television personality Wilfredo “Willie” B. Revillame, Senator Manuel M. Lapid, and cardiologist Willie Ong.

They were followed by former senators Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan, Ralph G. Recto, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, and Paolo Benigno “Bam” A. Aquino, IV.

Following them were Senator Francis N. Tolentino, ex-senator Franklin M. Drilon, Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr., and former senator Richard J. Gordon.  

LP spokesperson and former senator Leila M. de Lima said in February Mr. Pangilinan, Mr. Aquino, and human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” I. Diokno “intend to be opposition candidates” in next year’s midterm polls.

‘CHA-CHA’ BLAMEDMeanwhile, a decline in Pulse Asia’s latest public trust and performance ratings of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio, and Speaker of the House Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez could be a backlash of the government’s push for Charter change or “Cha-cha,” a lawmaker said.

Party-list Rep. France L. Castro, in a statement on Wednesday, said the people’s dislike for amending the 1987 Constitution caused the top three officials’ ratings to suffer, dropping by as much as 16%.

Citing the same pollster’s data last month that showed seven out of 10 Filipinos not seeing the need for “Cha-cha,” Ms. Castro said the survey results released this week had Mr. Marcos’ trust and performance ratings drop by 16% and 13%, respectively

“It just goes to show that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos are against ‘Cha-cha’ in whatever form,” she said. “So, it would be best for the Marcos Jr. administration to stop wasting time and resources on it and drop it now.”

Mr. Romualdez — who has openly supported amending the Constitution — had his trust and performance numbers drop by 9% and 8%, respectively. In both categories, Ms. Duterte-Carpio’s ratings also dropped by 7%.

Only Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri marked an increase in the poll, gaining 2% of the public’s trust and 3% more viewed his performance positively.

Ateneo de Manila University Political Science Lecturer Hansley A. Juliano explained that Mr. Zubiri’s marginal increase in public approval could have stemmed from the Senate’s critical take on “Cha-cha.”

For those officials whose public view took a hit, Mr. Juliano said: “When a politician doesn’t show any dynamism or novelty in policymaking, advocacy or response, this usually happens.”

“After nearly two years in office their political positions are now predictable and they haven’t exactly shown genuine flexibility in most issues,” he added.

Mr. Juliano said Mr. Marcos’ public approval could increase in the next quarter cycle of the survey, depending on the effectiveness of his campaign to protect the maritime territory and interests of the Philippines. — with a report from Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio

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