With the May 2019 Philippine midterm elections fast approaching, the senatorial race which at some point was already “in the bag” for many incumbent senators and come backing senators, today, towards the end of November, 2018, there are massive shifts rocking the survey results.
Grace Poe, 2013 number one senator in terms of total votes, won on her first attempt riding mainly on the apparently stolen presidential victory of her father, movie star Fernando Poe Jr., in 2004, marked by massive cheating which benefited incumbent President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Grace was hounded by her citizenship status when she ran and lost her Presidential ambition in 2016 (won by current President Rody Duterte). In the second half of her six-year senate term, she joined the Duterte Administration Majority Coalition. She would have easily garnered the votes of millions of Duterte supporters and breezed through the 2019 contest except that she was at the forefront of the Frigate Deal investigation that grilled the President’s closest associate, SAP Bong Go (who himself is running for the Senate in 2019). Aside from that, Grace made public a number of her personal feelings against social media, specifically Facebook (which coincidentally was what catapulted then Davao City Mayor Rody to the Presidency). Her Senate investigation on FAKE NEWS specifically pinpointed Asec Mocha Uson and Duterte online warriors as the perpetrators of malicious, manufactured, invented and untrue stories against the political opposition.
While Senator Poe may state that the investigations were conducted in aid of legislation, Duterte supporters did not take her perceived attacks on Duterte allies sitting down. Thus, while Poe topped all senatorial surveys prior to end September 2018, the good senator found herself tied for second and third in the Social Weather Station survey released in October 2018. A radio station poll released in November 2018 shows Poe tied for the third to sixth positions. While it is still too early to tell whether this is a temporary setback or the start of an irreversible decline, it is safe to say that pro-Duterte forces are actively mounting a negative campaign against her and this has taken its toll. A drop from number one to a place outside of the MAGIC 12 is ALMOST an IMPOSSIBLE thought to consider at this time but we may get greater clarity as the start of the official campaign period gets underway in February 2019 and further until election day in May 2019.
Part 2 will be available soon.