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’Popularity, not merits, to decide Senate polls’

Popularity won over qualification in the Senate race, the Palace said Monday after the old names in politics dominated the latest senatorial survey of Pulse Asia.

“No one should be daunted. We are not talking about qualifications here,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told reporters. 

“We’re talking of family names and how long they have been in the highest echelon of power in this country.”

Roque made his statement even as Senator Jose Victor Ejercito said he does have the benefit of name recall after using Ejercito and not Estrada for his non-inclusion in the “winning circle” of senatorial candidates based on the latest Pulse Asia survey. 

“The Estrada factor is working against me this time,” Ejercito told reporters. 

Ejercito’s rating dropped in Pulse Asia’s Sept. 1 to 7 survey, to 26.7 percent from 35.6 percent in the June 15 to 21 survey.

Roque said to be a skillful lawmaker, one needed to know the intricacies of the Constitution.

“You should know what your law is for you to know what law you will come up with. You should know the policies and not just focus on popularity,” Roque said.

In a recent Pulse Asia survey released on Saturday, Senator Grace Poe emerged at the top of the potential winning senatorial candidates for 2019.

Among the politicians who topped the survey were Senator Cynthia Villar, Rep. Pia Cayetano, Senator Nancy Binay, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Senator Edgardo Angara.

Meanwhile, Roque and Presidential Assistant Christopher Go, both eyeing Senate seats, were ranked between 24th and 35th.

Asked to comment, Roque said he was no longer surprised to see his name at the bottom of the list.

“It doesn’t surprise me. I’m just an ordinary human being. I don’t belong to any political family. I’m not rich. I’m not surprised,” he said.

“Like everyone else, democracy in the Philippines can be very expensive and depends on who your parents are.”

Roque said it was the children of senators, those who had been in politics, who had a very good chance of being reelected.

“Look at those who topped [the survey]. Aside from their relationship with their fathers, what skills do they have? What laws have they passed?” Roque said.

“Many of them are reelectionists and comebacking. Have you heard the laws they created? All they do is to investigate to gain public attention. Excuse me, that’s why nothing happens here in this country because we lack new policies.” 

Roque said the Pulse Asia survey was a measure of popularity and not of qualification. But he excluded Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, saying she was qualified to become a senator as she was a lawyer.

Topics: Pulse Asia , Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque , Senator Jose Victor Ejercito , Senator Grace Poe
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