Vice President Noli de Castro is still the choice of most Filipinos to succeed President Arroyo in 2010, results of a recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.
De Castro, in the SWS survey, again topped the list of presidential contenders for 2010, getting the nod of 31 percent of the 1,500 survey respondents.
Coming in second and third were Senators Loren Legarda and Manny Villar with 28 percent and 27 percent, respectively, followed by Senators Francis Escudero (19 percent), Panfilo Lacson (14 percent), former President Joseph Estrada (11 percent), and Sen. Mar Roxas (10 percent).
Reacting to the survey, De Castro said, “My heartfelt gratitude for the trust and confidence given by our people. I take their support as my inspiration and use it to direct my efforts and actions toward programs that are truly beneficial to the public, especially the poor.”
“As always, I will put the welfare of the people above all interests. At this point in time, politicking should take a back seat,” he said.
“What our country needs right now is for us to unite and work together regardless of political affiliation to create and sustain more jobs for our people. That should be our top priority,” he added.
Legarda said she felt honored by the SWS survey results.
“It is always an honor to be trusted. Coming on the heels of another SWS survey in which 52 percent of those asked said they rate themselves as poor, this latest survey is a challenge, not only to me but to all those who seek public office and most specially to those who hold the public trust,” Legarda said in a statement in reaction to the survey.
“We need to change the way government is run. We need to eradicate corruption, not only in government but in our culture – but most specially in government,” Legarda said.
The non-commissioned survey found two percent preferring Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay and Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando, while one percent mentioned Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Francis Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
One percent of the respondents also voted for Mrs. Arroyo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos.
“Seven percent could not give an answer and 12 percent had no one to recommend,” the SWS said.
In the survey, the respondents were asked: “Under the present Constitution, the term of President Arroyo is up to 2010 only, and there will be an election for a new President in May 2010. Who do you think are good leaders who should succeed Pres. Arroyo as President?”
SWS said the respondents were allowed to give three names. The survey gave no list of names.
Those whose names were mentioned more than in the previous quarter were Escudero with a three-point increase; De Castro, Legarda, and Binay (two points); and Fernando, one point.
“The question wording has been exactly the same in the past five quarterly surveys,” the SWS said.
The survey, fielded from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1, used face-to-face interviews with 1,500 adults across the country.
P1-M bond hailed, scorned
Presidential wannabes among senators gave mixed reactions to a directive from the Commission on Elections requiring candidates in national elections to post a P1-million bond to discourage nuisance candidates.
Senators Legarda and Richard Gordon hailed the Comelec move while Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the directive showed Comelec’s incompetence.
“The proposed regulation is good because it would stop nuisance candidates from running in the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial elections,” Gordon, author of the amended Automated Elections Law, said.
But aside from the P1-million bond, the government should also “let the government pay for the expenses of presidential candidates to level the playing field for serious candidates who have no financial means.”
Gordon has also filed Senate Bill 2079 which proposes tri-media exposure for candidates, to enable them to present their vision and platform of government through televised debates.
He said his proposal, if approved, would also make candidates less beholden to the incumbent leadership.
Legarda hailed the Comelec’s move over the weekend but urged the agency to focus on poll automation. “It’s okay to make sure that there are no nuisance candidates. But what we must focus on is automation so we can prevent massive fraud as in the past,” Legarda said.
“We must also discourage the culture of vote-buying and materialism and elect competent, honest and compassionate leaders,” she said.
But Lacson slammed the Comelec for its P1-million bond requirement.
“It’s an open admission of Comelec’s incompetence to determine who is a nuisance candidate and who is not,” Lacson said. “I can’t understand how a P1-million bond can help define nuisance. It’s a stupid idea, to say the least.” –- Helen Flores with Christina Mendez, Pia Lee-Brago, Philippine Star