Photo:L-R Sara Duterte-Caprio/ Grace Poe/ Cynthia Villar

By Macon Araneta i FilAm Star Correspondent

FIVE women—three incumbent senators, a member of the House of Representatives and presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, dominated the latest Pulse Asia survey on the senatorial preferences in the coming mid-term elections in May.

Incumbent Sen. Grace Poe, who was defeated in the last presidential elections,  topped the list of possible winners if elections were held this month.

Poe was followed by Sen. Cynthia Villar, Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano, Sen. Nancy Binay and Duterte-Carpio.

The Pulse Asia survey showed that Poe continued to enjoy the top spot with her voter preference at 70.1 percent,  translating to a statistical ranking of solo first place.

“Only 3.6 percent of Filipinos do not support any of the probable senatorial bets included in this survey probe, refuse to name their preferred senatorial candidates, or still do not know whom they will vote for in May 2019,” said the Pulse Asia report.

Occupying the second to third was Villar (57.7 percent) while Cayetano ranked second to fourth (54.4 percent). Close behind them was Binay with a statistical ranking of third to fourth (50.6 percent).

Completing the top half of the probable winners were Duterte-Carpio (39.5 percent, fifth to sixth), incumbent Sen. Edgardo Angara, Jr. (37.1 percent, fifth to seventh), and former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (34.6 percent, sixth to tenth).

Sharing seventh to eleventh were Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos (32.6 percent), incumbent Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III (32.4 percent), and former Sen. Lito Lapid (32.2 percent).

Come backing former Sen.  Sergio Osmeña was  in eighth to seventeenth (29.8 percent).

The other probable winners were six personalities  tied at eleventh to seventeenth—former Sen. Manuel Roxas (27.7 percent), actor Robin Padilla (27.4 percent), detained former Sen. Ramon Revilla, Jr. (27.4 percent), broadcaster Ramon Tulfo (27.0 percent), Bureau of Corrections Chief Ronald dela Rosa (27.0 percent), and incumbent Sen. Jose Victor Ejercito (26.7 percent).

In a statement, Poe said “We are humbled and grateful for the continued support of our people. It is uplifting that women are being recognized as effective, decisive and compassionate leaders.”

“However, the more important numbers which should concern us today are inflation, prices of goods, employment, fuel prices, and the damage caused by Ompong. Let us focus on clear and present challenges,” she said.

Poe, daughter of the late “King of Action Movie” and defeated 2004 presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr., topped the list of winners in the May 2013 senatorial race.

With a record breaking 20,337,327 votes, Poe, who was the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson, surpassed the election record of Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. who topped the 2010 senatorial race with 19,513,521 votes.

The number of votes for Poe in 2013 was also the biggest number registered for a single candidate in Philippine election history.

Poe ran for president with Sen. Francis Escudero as running mate in the 2016 presidential elections but lost to then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte’s daughter Sara has repeatedly denied she would run for a Senate seat, insisting that she would just seek re-election.

“I am not running for the Senate,” she said during the recent oath-taking of 5,000 new members of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional political party she heads.

Meanwhile, stressing that he does  have the benefit of the name recall for  using Ejercito and not Estrada, incumbent Sen. Jose Victor Ejercito  believes this  can be a reason for his non-inclusion in the “winning circle”  of preferred senator based on the latest Pulse Asia survey.

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

The Senator’s rating dropped in the September 1-7 survey to 26.7 percent from 35.6 percent in the June 15 to 21 survey.

The Pulse Asia survey conducted from  September 1-7 showed that Ejercito landed between 11th and 17th spot among  the senatorial preferences. On the other hand, his  half-brother Estrada, ranked between 6th and 10th.

But Ejercito vowed  to work harder  to improve his ratings, banking on his performance in the Senate in the past five years.

“I am a believer of good karma. I have decent performance in my five years as a senator, and more importantly I don’t have a blemish on my track record as a public servant,” he said.

He also  said his name and his conscience are clean. “That is more important. That’s the best gift I can leave my children,” also said Ejercito.

Win or lose in the upcoming elections, the Senator said he remains thankful that he was given the opportunity to serve the people as a senator.

“Those who gave me the trust in 2013 will be happy that I will be leaving landmark legislations like UHCP and Department of Housing that will definitely improve quality of life of Filipinos; it will be a promise fulfilled,” he pointed out.

UHCP is the Universal Health Care Program.

Ejercito has yet to announce under what party he will run in the 2019 polls, although he earlier said that he is considering transferring to the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the political party of Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Ejercito said he already asked Sotto about the possibility of his transfer as it would not look good if he and his brother Jinggoy will both be running for a Senate seat under the same party, Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino.

Ejercito took his oath as a member of regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, led by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

The office of Sen. Benigno Paolo Aquino IV stated “the first time two Aquinos were included in the Pulse Asia Survey resulted in a divided choice for voters, leading to a drop for Sen. Bam Aquino.”

“From being the only opposition candidate among the top 12 in past surveys, Aquino dropped from the Magic 12 in the recent survey conducted from September 1 to 7,” it stated.

“His cousin, actress Kris Aquino, was recently included in the survey and ranked similarly to Sen. Bam Aquino.