BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has made headway in voters’ preference, landing Number 7 in the Top Ten of a presidential survey by Novo Trends PH.
The ranking came even as Duterte denies he is not joining the 2016 presidential race.
The results of the survey by the political think tank headed by political analyst Ramon Casiple is the first for Duterte to make it to a survey on voters’ preference for president for the coming 2016 national election.
Previous surveys on presidential preference had not included the name of Duterte due to his public announcement that he is not joining the presidential race.
The survey conducted in Manila October 24-25 involving 1,600 respondents placed Duterte in No. 7 (3.4 percent), sharing the spot with Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II (3.4 percent) and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano (3.4 percent; former Senator Manuel Villar was No. 10 with 2.1 percent.
Vice President Jejomar Binay topped the survey with 29.3 percent, the lowest level in surveys for the embattled opposition presidential bet.
Following Binay are President Benigno Aquino (13.1 percent), Senator Grace Poe (11.8 percent), and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago ranked fourth with 7.9 percent.
In the fifth to ninth slots are Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (5.1 percent); Francis Escudero (4.6 percent); Duterte (3.4 percent); Roxas (3.4 percent); Cayetano (3.4 percent) and Villar (2.1 percent).
The Novo Trend ranking has elated the Duterte Pilipinas 2016, the group that has gathered more than 10 million signatures in a nationwide campaign seeking to make Duterte change his mind and run for President in 2016.
The movement’s head, Davao City village chief Mario Masanguid reads the Novo Trend survey results as having Duterte in No. 4, with the three in the list ahead of Duterte — Aquino (No.2), Poe (No. 3) and Escudero (No. 6) having said they are not running in 2016.
Aquino has announced he is not seeking reelection; Poe has said she is not gunning for a higher position, while Escudero said he is eyeing the vice presidential slot of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance of former President now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
With the three out of the race, the Novo Trend ranking should actually be Binay in No. 1, Santiago in No. 2, Marcos in No.3 and Duterte in No. 4, said Masanguid, who is convinced that his group‘s signature campaign would eventually make Duterte change his mind about not running in 2016.
Masanguid said that if the same ranking persists in surveys, the administration Liberal Party of may end up picking Duterte as its standard bearer. Duterte is aligned with the administration party of President Aquino.
The Liberal Party’s ‘anointed’ presidential bet in the 2016 derby is Roxas, who has miserably paled in surveys against Binay.
In the Novo Trend survey, Duterte shared the No. 7 spot with Roxas and Cayetano with a similar 3.4 percent.
Cayetano has also announced he is junking his presidential bid in 2016, leaving Duterte and Roxas in the No. 7.
Binay’s rating reached the lowest level since lawmakers began investigating various corruption allegations against the Vice President, said Casiple.
The survey was conducted as the Senate investigates Binay for alleged massive corruption when he was Mayor of Makati City and his alleged ownership of the 350-hectare Hacienda Binay in Rosario, Cavite.
Binay has gained public censure over his persistent refusal to attend the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearings on overpricing of the P2.3 billion Makati City Parking Building II and other local government projects and his alleged use of a ‘dummy’ (Sunchamp owned by businessman Tony Tiu) in Hacienda Binay.