Presidential candidate Sen. Noynoy Aquino III, son of the late Philippine icons of democracy Ninoy and Cory Aquino, tops the latest presidential survey of a public relations firm, but Sen. Manny Villar is just a few points--seven to be exact--behind.
Of the 1,200 respondents in a survey conducted by the Issues and Advocacy Center (The Center), the first survey since all the political hopefuls filed their candidacy, 31 percent said they will vote for Aquino (Liberal Party) and 24 percent for Villar (Nacionalista Party). Aquino's previous ratings in Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys were around 50 percent.
"The Center Director [Edgardo] Malay attributed Aquino's lower ratings to the diminishing impact of the death of his mother who passed away [on] August 1 after a long battle with colon cancer," GMANews.tv reports. Aquino ran due to the prodding of different personalities and groups after his mother died and announced his candidacy on the 40th day of her death.
"We respect the results [of The Center survey]. Noynoy and [his running mate Sen. Mar Roxas] will just have to continue to work hard not to lose the trust of the people," Liberal Party spokesman and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Taņada said. The Liberal Party is waiting for the results of the December surveys of SWS and Pulse Asia which will set the tone of their campaign next year.
The results have not made Villar complacent. "Mahaba pa yan, marami pang mangyayari. Basta kami ay naka-focus lang sa Mayo at sa aming adhikain. [We still have a long way to go, a lot can still happen. For our part, we're just focused on the May election and our advocacies]," Villar said.
Former Pres. Joseph Estrada came in third with 19 percent, Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro got 10 percent and Sen. Richard Gordon shot up from "virtually nil" to 8 percent in the survey.
It's a tight race between the presidentiable frontrunners but it's an even tighter race between their running mates: Aquino's partner, Sen. Mar Roxas has 28 percent, just three points ahead of the 25 percent share of Villar's partner, Sen. Loren Legarda.
The Center describes itself on their website as "a political media campaign consultancy group that is based in the Philippines and which is a springboard of trend-setting ideas in politics and advocacy."