Villar unfazed by Noynoy lead
By Marvin Sy
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manuel Villar Jr. remained unperturbed by the latest Pulse Asia survey on presidential candidates, which saw his numbers drop by six percentage points.
In the Pulse Asia survey, Villar went down from 35 percent in January to 29 percent in February.
Liberal Party (LP) bet Sen. Benigno Aquino III obtained 36 percent in the Feb. 21-25 survey.
From being statistically tied with Aquino in January, Villar is now down by seven percentage points.
Interviewed over radio dzRH, Villar said he respected the results of the latest survey but would not necessarily use it as the only gauge of how he is performing in his campaign for the presidency.
Villar said his camp is looking at all surveys that are coming out and compare them to get an average.
Villar noted that the survey showed his numbers down in Mindanao, which affected his overall ranking in the survey.
He downplayed the Mindanao factor, arguing that he had just come from a sortie in that region and all of the surveys conducted by their candidates there showed him on top of the list.
“Anyway, we respect this and we will just come up with an average of all these surveys,” Villar said in Filipino.
NP spokesman and senatorial bet Gilbert Remulla saw the survey in a different light and decided to compare the February numbers to last year’s figures.
Remulla noted that Villar’s numbers were still going up since he got just 23 percent in the December Pulse Asia survey.
In contrast, Remulla noted that Aquino has been on a downward spiral, from 60 and 50 percent last year to just 35 percent now.
“We welcome the latest Pulse Asia results and we vow to work harder next time. It’s still two months before elections. Our seven-point deficit is recoverable compared to the 24 percentage points lost by the closest rival,” Remulla said.
On the other hand, Aquino and his running mate Sen. Manuel Roxas II vowed yesterday to work even harder to improve their leads over their rivals in the May elections, since they also count the Arroyo administration as a big enemy out to derail their victory.
“We have not reached the (targeted) maximum lead. There are still many provinces that we have yet to visit, which I think we can cover by next week,” Aquino told reporters before signing a covenant with the urban poor in Tondo, Manila.
“We want to regain the (20 percent) lead or even more,” Aquino said, adding the C-5 road controversy and other criticisms against his closest rival Villar had not yet made a full impact.
Meanwhile, United Opposition (UNO) vice presidential candidate Jejomar Binay also welcomed the Pulse Asia survey which showed the opposition’s improving performance.
Former President Joseph Estrada, standard-bearer of the UNO-Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), posted the biggest gain of six percentage points in the latest survey.
In a statement, Binay said that while the survey does not accurately capture the groundswell of support for the Erap-Binay tandem in their provincial sorties, it indicates a shift of voting preference. – With Sandy Araneta and Aurea Calica