Dec 102014
Officials of the ruling Liberal Party on Wednesday downplayed the results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showing Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II slipping from second to sixth place, saying trends are still bound to change with 18 months to go before the 2016 elections. 

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., LP vice-chairman, said that while the party is happy that Senator Grace Poe, an administration ally, is gaining ground in the survey, there remains a possibility the results will change as the presidential polls draw closer.

“Definitely, Sen. Grace Poe is the big winner in this particular survey, but we have to remember that this survey is done four times a year,” Belmonte told reporters in a chance interview.

Asked if Poe’s improved rating in the Pulse Asia survey will prompt LP officials to court her to join the party, Belmonte said: “It’s too early to make a conjecture regarding something that will happen one and a half years from now.”

For his part, Western Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento, LP secretary general, said the survey results are taking a backseat to the party’s resolve to help its chairman, President Benigno Aquino III, implement priority programs in the remaining months left in his term. 

“The party’s national executive council will convene at the proper time but for the moment, the ruling part would like to focus on Typhoon Ruby’s response effort and [the President’s]  programs and projects,” Sarmiento said in a text message.

The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted between November 14 and 20 showed Poe’s preference rating climbing to 18 percent from 10 percent in September, placing her second to Vice President Jejomar Binay, who had a 26-percent rating.

But in a text message to reporters, Poe said that despite her surge in the Pulse Asia survey, she still has no plans to seek a higher porst in 2016.

Roxas, who has been mentioned by some LP members as the “best choice” to become the administration’s standard-bearer in 2016, dropped from second place to sixth, with only 6 percent of the 1,200 survey respondents saying they will vote for him if the elections were held at the time was conducted in November.

Mood of the times

Meanwhile, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, LP chair for political affairs, attributed Poe’s strong showing in the survey to “the good press” she has been getting in recent months because the public has been on the lookout for a potential leader in 2016 following corruption charges hounding Binay.

While saying that Poe is welcome to join LP, Erice said the latest survey results “are just reflection of the mood of the times.”

“What’s important is the survey after the declaration of candidates by political parties and the campaign platforms to be presented during the campaign period,” he said in a separate text message.

Erice said the public should await the President’s announcement of his anointed successor as it is bound to spell the difference in the subsequent survey results.

“PNoy’s announcement will make the difference as people would look for the continuance of the ‘tuwid na daan’ (straight path). The President will choose the right candidate at the right time,” he said.

Sought for comment on the slide in Roxas’ ratings, Malacañang on Wednesday said Aquino has yet to anoint his “chosen one.”  RSJ, GMA News

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