It appears that a neck-and-neck battle between the current frontrunner in the 2022 presidential race and Partido Reporma standard-bearer Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson is slowly shaping up, as the latter inched closer to his toughest rival, the latest independent poll conducted in mid-January showed.
From a random sampling of nearly 5,833 respondents, Lacson emerged as the second-leading presidential aspirant with 31.11 percent of the votes.
The Lacson camp noted this is a far cry from a single-digit rating that was projected by most mainstream polling firms right before the start of the year.
This result, it said, was based on the participants’ answer to the most basic survey question: “If the elections were held today, who would you vote for?”
The survey was conducted from January 16 to 22, 2022 by Republic Gas Corporation (Regasco) and the LPG Marketers’ Association (LPGMA) among its customers and dealers from 25 locations across Metro Manila, North and South Luzon, and parts of Cebu and Negros Oriental.
Lacson fared better than his competitors when survey respondents were asked different sets of questions. He gained 40.42 percent of the votes from 4,438 participants when they were asked who among the current crop of presidential aspirants is the most capable of going after corrupt officials.
Incidentally, 99.65 out of the 3,187 people surveyed said they are furious with the thieves in government.
Lacson also stands to benefit in case former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr.—or any other presidential candidate for that matter—is disqualified from the race, according to 37.79 percent of some 4,472 survey respondents.
A broad analysis of these numbers showed that Marcos, Jr.’s 42.51 percent rating and early leads in previous surveys were never safe.
Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo is a distant third in the crowded presidential race with 12 percent.
Falling in the bottom three were Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno Domagoso (8.36 percent), boxing icon turned Senator Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao (5.06 percent), and labor rights leader Leodegario ‘Leody’ de Guzman (0.96 percent).
In the recent presidential interviews he gave this week, Lacson said he is never bothered no matter where he stands in pre-election surveys because he believes his supporters would pull him through. He also said he is not losing hope that he can win some, if not all, voters who are still on the fence.
“I’m always inspired by my supporters… We still have three months to go before the elections… A lot of things may still happen,” were the casual responses of the Partido Reporma chief whenever journalists and radio anchors pressed him about pre-election survey results.
Meanwhile, in a separate survey with 2,249 participants for the vice-presidential race, Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III is still on top with 39.07 percent, but he is now followed closely by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who got 34.64 percent.
Lagging behind them were the three other VP candidates Dr. Willie Ong (12.70 percent), Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan (8.57 percent) and Deputy House Speaker Jose ‘Lito’ Atienza, Jr. of Buhay party-list (5.01 percent).
In terms of tandem voting, the Marcos-Duterte pairing remains popular with 40.39 percent trailed by Lacson-Sotto (31.36 percent), Robredo-Pangilinan (10.59 percent), Moreno-Ong (8.13 percent), and Pacquiao-Atienza (3.98 percent).
Meanwhile, Lacson will stay true to his ‘governance beyond politics’ approach and will not exercise obstructive power play tactics with respect to the distribution of public funds when he won the presidency.
Lacson said he will not be biased in favor of or against any political party or color.
“Whoever needs funding the most will be our priority, and wherever the national government has to respond better for the good of the majority, that is where the resources and programs of our government will go,” he said.
“This is what the Lacson administration assures everyone. Just because you belong to another party doesn’t mean you will not be entertained. You or your constituents will be paid attention to because you need the help of our government and support of our administration,” he added.
Lacson said this the essence of the Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) program of Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III to address the culture of mendicancy among local government officials that was tolerated by past administrations.
Under the BRAVE framework, duly elected public officials and the citizenry are encouraged to collaborate and submit strategic project proposals through their local development councils, so they can be properly incorporated in the overall socioeconomic agenda of the Lacson administration.
He said this is part of the main platform of Senator Ping Lacson when he becomes president—to implement a single standard policy. Only one standard will be applied to everyone who is willing to serve and work with his government.
In his recent presidential interviews, Lacson pointed out the ‘disconnect’ between some big-ticket projects implemented by the government and the needs of the local communities. He said this is one of the things that he is going to correct should Filipinos entrust him the leadership of the executive branch.
Part of this elaborate plan is to create a better national budget system in accordance with pertinent laws to reconcile the development projects proposed by the local government units to the programs of the national government agencies.
This way, the potential for corruption will be eliminated and incidences of misused, abused and unused appropriations will be avoided, as Lacson aims to be very strict with regard to the national budget process by implementing a standard zero-based and bottom-up budgeting approach.