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Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on the May 2019 Senatorial Elections and Party-List Representatives May 2019 Pulso ng Bayan Pre-Electoral national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from May 3 – 6, 2019 using face-to-face interviews. In the weeks leading up to the fieldwork for this survey and during the actual conduct of the interviews, the following local and international developments dominated the headlines:

Among the developments that preoccupied Filipinos in the weeks immediately leading up to and during the conduct of the survey interviews are the following:

1. The press conference held by Mr. Peter Joemel Advincula (alias Bikoy) on 06 May 2019 at the headquarters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) during which he asked for legal assistance from the IBP in suing former Davao City Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte, former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Go, and Atty. Manases Carpio; Mr. Advincula, who is purportedly the person behind the “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos that linked family members and allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to the illegal drug trade, denied any ties to the Liberal Party (LP) or the Otso Diretso senatorial candidates and says he does not know Mr. Rodel Jayme, the individual who created the website metrobalita.net that hosted the videos; Malacañang said there is no truth to Mr. Advincula’s allegations, dismissed these as “black propaganda”, and questioned his credibility as a witness against the President’s relatives and allies;

2. The claim of Mr. Jayme, who was arrested on 02 May 2019 and subsequently charged with inciting to sedition by the Department of Justice (DOJ), that supporters of the LP are behind the planning of the videos that were uploaded to the metrobalita.net website; the camp of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo denied any involvement in the creation and uploading of the videos and dismissed the accusations linking her to the issue as an attempt to besmirch her name and reputation; Senator Francis Pangilinan, LP President and Otso Diretso’s campaign manager, said this is simply a tactic of the Duterte administration to divert public attention away from its failures;

3. The signing of the General Appropriations Act of 2019 on 15 April 2019, with the P 95.3 B allotment for infrastructure projects being vetoed by the President; Senate President Vicente Sotto III called the presidential veto a “victory” for the people because the said amount reportedly includes the illegal realignments amounting to P 75 B made by members of the Lower House;

4. The fourth visit of President Duterte to China from 25 to 27 April 2019, during which time he attended the 2nd Belt and Road Forum; a total of 19 agreements with various Chinese companies were signed during the President’s trip, which could bring P 634 T worth of investments to the country and create 21,000 jobs for Filipinos if they materialize; President Duterte also had a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping wherein both leaders reaffirmed the diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China amidst the continuing tensions between both countries in the South China Sea;

5. The contradictory statements made by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. regarding the reported harvesting of endangered giant clams and destruction of corals by Chinese forces at the Panatag Shoal; on 16 April 2019, the DFA Secretary said the Philippines will take legal action against China for causing environmental damage to the shoal; however, on 19 April 2019, DFA Secretary Locsin tweeted that the country “will not make a stand on clams and coral” and “China does not owe us for clams and coral”; meanwhile, the Philippines has asked China to keep its military forces away from Pag-asa Island in the Spratlys in order to avoid an escalation of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea;

6. The decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to grant the petition for a writ of kalikasan filed by a group of Palawan fisherfolks and Zambales residents urging the Duterte administration to “protect, preserve, rehabilitate, and restore the marine environment” at the Panatag Shoal, the Ayungin Shoal, and the Panganiban Reef from further environmental destruction; these disputed areas, while within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), have either been seized by China or are surrounded by Chinese vessels; the petition was filed following the DFA’s declaration that it would take legal action against China over its resource extractive activities at the Panatag Shoal; in response, Malacañang said the protection of the marine ecosystem in these areas is already a top concern of the administration and denied that it has not done anything to address public concern regarding the environmental impact of Chinese activities in the South China Sea;

7. The 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Luzon on 22 April 2019 and resulted in the death of 18 people, injuries to more than 300 others, and serious damage to the Clark International Airport and the towns of Lubao and Porac in the province of Pampanga; the second district of Pampanga was placed under a state of calamity due to the extent of damages in the area; less than 24 hours after the Luzon earthquake, a 6.5-magnitude earthquake occurred in Eastern Samar with only minor damages to infrastructure being reported by local government officials;

8. The commemoration of Labor Day, with President Duterte urging Congress to pass legislation that would protect workers’ rights, specifically to security of tenure and self-organization; for their part, workers’ such as the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), called on the administration to increase the daily minimum wage to P 750 across the country and the minimum monthly pay of state employees to P 16,000; meanwhile, teachers’ organizations reminded President Duterte of his campaign promise to double teachers’ salaries during his presidency, a promise that has remained unfulfilled three (3) years into his term;

9. The P 1.13 B fine slapped on the Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI) by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) as penalty for the company’s failure to provide its customers continuous water supply as stipulated in its concession agreement; MWCI Chairperson Fernando Zobel de Ayala said the company will not contest the fine in arbitration and it will be absorbed by the MWCI completely; in a related development, the water supply crisis in Metro  Manila is expected to continue with the water level in Angat Dam, its water source, breaching the critical level of 180 meters as its elevation hit 179.97 meters on 28 April 2019;

10. The warning issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) that 16 provinces and Metro Manila are expected to experience drought in May 2019 as a result of the prolonged El Niño in the country; the Department of Agriculture (DA) estimates damage to the agriculture sector to have reached nearly P 8 B as of late April 2019;

11. The efforts of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to run after more than 130,000 unregistered Chinese workers in the Philippine offshore gaming operations (Pogo) sector as well as about 2,000 foreigners working as consultants, engineers, designers, and information technology (IT) workers in the Clark and Subic economic zones; the Department of Finance (DOF) aims to collect around P 32 B from foreign workers engaged in the Pogo industry;

12. The absence of President Duterte from the limelight from 29 April to 05 May 2019, with Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo saying the President opted to work from his Davao City residence following his “very punishing schedule” during his most recent trip to China; President Duterte returned to Malacañang on 06 May 2019 to preside over a Cabinet meeting;

13. The eight (8) explosions that hit churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019, that killed 253 individuals and injured at least 500 others; local authorities attributed the attacks to a local extremist group, the National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ), and arrested 24 people in connection with the bombings; and

14. The fire that struck the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on 15 April 2019, which was most likely due to an electric short-circuit; although pledges for the rebuilding of the cathedral have reached more than US$ 1 B, restoration experts estimate that renovating the Notre Dame Cathedral could reach up to US$ 3.3 B and could take up to 20 years to complete.

Based on a multistage probability sample of 1,800 likely voters 18 years old and above, Pulse Asia’s nationwide survey has a +/- 2.3% error margin at the 95% confidence level.  Subnational estimates for the geographic areas covered in the survey have the following error margins at 95% confidence level:  +/- 6.8% for Metro Manila, +/-3.5% for the rest of Luzon, +/-5.1% for Visayas and +/-4.8% for Mindanao. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes.  Pulse Asia Research undertakes Pulso ng Bayan pre-election surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes,  Pulse Asia Research President via Viber or Telegram at +639189335497 or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email.).

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Senator Cynthia Villar enjoys solo 1st place in the senatorial race; only 36% of Filipino registered voters are expressing support for 12 senatorial candidates

If the May 2019 elections were held during the survey period, 15 out of the 62 candidates for senator would have a statistical chance of winning. Most of the probable winners are either current or former members of Congress. Among those with a statistical chance of winning, 11 belong to the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) coalition, one (1) is running as an independent candidate, and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), and the Liberal Party (LP) have one (1) candidate each in the winners’ circle. In solo 1st place, with only about a week to go before Election Day, is Senator Cynthia Villar whose reelection bid has the support of 55.9% of Filipino registered voters who are likely to vote in May 2019. (Please refer to Table 1.)

Another reelectionist, Senator Grace Poe, is now in 2nd to 3rd places with an overall voter preference of 47.7%. Close behind the latter is Taguig City Representative Pia Cayetano who has the support of 45.0% of registered voters and a statistical ranking of 2nd to 4th places. Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Go lands in 3rd to 7th places with a voter preference of 42.0%. The return to the Senate of former Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr. is backed by 39.5% of registered voters and this gives him a statistical ranking of 4th to 8th places. Sharing 4th to 9th places are former Senator Lito Lapid (38.5%) and former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Ronald dela Rosa (37.9%). Incumbent Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, currently ranked 5th to 10th, enjoys the support of 36.3% of registered voters.

Completing the list of probable winners are Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos (34.1%, 6th to 14th places), Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay (32.8%, 8th to 15th places), Senator Aquilino Pimentel III (31.7%, 9th to 15th places), Senator JV Estrada Ejercito (31.2%, 9th to 15th places), former Senator Jinggoy Estrada (30.8%, 9th to 15th places), Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV (30.6%, 9th to 15th places), and former Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino (28.9%, 10th to 15th places).

Meanwhile, 5.8% of Filipinos who are registered to vote in the coming midterm elections refused to fill up the sample ballot used to this survey, 3.7% had their ballot invalidated because they voted for more than 12 candidates, and 1.9% are not inclined to elect any of the 62 senatorial candidates.

As of the survey period, Filipino registered voters are identifying a mean of 8 and a median of 8 (out of a maximum of 12) of their preferred senatorial candidates. Across geographic areas and socio-economic classes, mean figures vary from 7 to 9 while median figures range from 7 to 11. A little over a third of registered voters (36%) have a complete senatorial slate for the May 2019 elections. Across geographic areas, the percentages of voters who have 12 favored senatorial candidates range from 30% in the rest of Luzon to 49% in Mindanao. In the different socio-economic groupings, figures vary only from 35% in Class D to 41% in Class E. (Please refer to Table 2.)

Only 9 party-list groups succeed in obtaining at least a 2.0% voter preference

In the elections for party-list representatives, among the 134 party-list groups accredited by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the May 2019 polls, only 9 have the support of at least 2.0% of Filipino registered voters who have a preferred party-list group. These probable winners, who obtain a seat in the Lower House during the first round of seat allocation as provided for in the 17 February 2017 resolution issued by the Supreme Court (SC)[1], are Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (10.60%), Ako Bicol Political Party (6.72%), Bayan Muna (6.07%), Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (3.68%), One Patriotic Coalition of Marginalized Nationals (3.50%), Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, Inc. (2.77%), Alyansa ng mga Mamamayang Probinsiyano (2.72%), An Waray (2.43%), and Magkakasama sa Sakahan, Kaunlaran (2.20%). (Please refer to Table 3.)

In addition, based on the procedure for allocating the maximum number of 59 seats[2] for party-list representatives described in the said SC resolution, three (3) groups would succeed in winning three (3) seats each in the House of Representatives, the maximum number of seats that any single group can obtain in the party-list elections. These groups are Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support, Inc. (ACT-CIS), Ako Bicol Political Party (Ako Bicol), and Bayan Muna. Overall, only 54 of the 59 seats for party-list representatives would be allocated if the May 2019 elections coincided with the conduct of this pre-election survey.


[1]The resolution was issued by the Court en banc in connection with G.R. No. 225198 (Gabriela Women’s Party, represented by its National Chairperson, Hon. Emerenciana A. De Jesus vs Commission on Elections). Please see https://www.lawphil.net/sc_res/2017/pdf/gr_225198_2017.pdf.

[2]Comelec Resolution No. 10418 promulgated on 05 September 2018. Please see http://comelec.gov.ph/?r=2019NLE/Resolutions/res10418.