Vice-president Leni Robredo and her running mate Sen. Francis Pangilinan emerged as big winners in mock polls conducted among student councils of the country’s top universities — University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University, National University and Adamson University.

Now considered the opposition candidates, Robredo and Pangilinan received the most votes in the simultaneous mock polls held at these schools.

In Ateneo, Robredo and Pangilinan received 3,197 and 2,909 votes, respectively, out of the total 3,343 votes cast by students. They also received 6,618 and 5,916 votes, respectively, out of the 7,345 total votes cast in the mock polls conducted by the FEU Central Organization.

Nine in every 10 UST students who participated in the mock polls also preferred Robredo, who obtained 3,973 of the total 4,401 votes. Pangilinan was the choice of 3,630 Thomasian students.

During a press briefing, the student councils of Ateneo, FEU, UP Diliman, UST and Adamson University formally endorsed Robredo and Pangilinan for president and vice- president.

“The council recognizes the track record of the Leni-Kiko tandem and their vision for the safe re-opening of classes, scientific and humanistic pandemic response, resumption of peace talks, genuine agrarian reform and assertion of Philippine sovereignty, among other stances on national issues,” the UP-Diliman Student Council said.

“Through their clean track record and proven years of service to the Filipino people, they have shown their character, knowledge on issues, proper governance and love of public service that our country needs,” added the Adamson University Student Government.

In a resolution adopted by its central assembly, Ateneo’s Sanggunian ng Mag-aaral described Robredo as the best candidate that would prioritize “economically wise, pro-people and pro-education policies” if elected president.

It also recognized Pangilinan’s platform to ensure food security, strengthen local production and revitalize the country’s fishing and agriculture sectors.

Robredo was also endorsed by the UE–Manila University Student Council, citing the results of the mock polls it conducted, where 10,800 out of 11,030 respondents said they prefer the Vice-president.

The UE Manila University Student Council has not endorsed a vice presidential candidate for which it has yet to conduct mock polls.

Volunteer group Team Leni Robredo (TLR) said the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem also emerged as the preferred candidates in student-initiated surveys of at least 30 higher education institutions, including the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Saint Louis University and Philippine Normal University.

Ben Bernabe, TLR communications head, said the results of the mock polls highlighted the youth’s support for the platform of good governance of the opposition tandem.

Pangilinan has called on Team Robredo-Pangilinan (TROPA) supporters to protect Robredo by rejecting other vice-presidential bets being brokered by political operators.

“I hope they will make it, the Youth for Leni and Kiko,” Pangilinan told the 1,500-strong crowd who attended the Maasin City People’s Rally held at the Maasin City municipal grounds in Southern Leyte last week.

“If another vice-president would win, they might do something bad against the president,” Pangilinan said in a renewed counter-offensive against political brokers and operators undermining his vice-presidential bid.

Robredo has said that she is standing by Pangilinan in her quest for the presidency.