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Of poll surveys

Nestor MataMANILA Modern public opinion surveys are designed to record and report on who is most favored by voters, out of a dozen or so candidates, in next year’s presidential race. So far, according to the latest of two pre-campaign poll surveys, Sen. Manny Villar is the one preferred by voters in Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (where, by the way, he’s in a virtual tie with former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. In the first survey, conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Villar, who’s the standard bearer of the Nacionalista Party that he himself heads, topped the list of would-be presidents with 33 percent of the respondents, followed not too closely by Estrada, who says he’s 99.9 percent sure to run again. The second, conducted Pulse Asia, showed that Villar is the choice of 23 percent of voter-respondents. The two surveys were made for the second quarter of the year. There will be, of course, other polls before and during the campaign period up to the last days before Election Day in May. What’s remarkable about the results of the surveys concerning Villar is that he was the one chosen by the voter-respondents despite attempts by his political foes to smear him with charges, which later proved to be baseless, to bring down his high ratings. While Villar expressed his gratitude to the people’s vote of confidence, he nevertheless expected his accusers and rivals alike to intensify their verbal attacks (he calls these “demolition jobs”) in the weeks to come. But such surveys exert an important influence on the public, especially the electorate. And if Villar continues to gain strength in such public opinion polls as the campaign proceeds, voters who hadn’t made up their minds or even had favored the opposing candidates may well be expected to climb on the leading candidate’s bandwagon. That’s still a long way off until all the presidential aspirants have filed their certificates of candidacy on November 30, 2009. Revivifying Cory?s old political “magic”? Would that mythical magic help her only son, Sen. Noynoy Aquino should he finally decide to run for president? This question has come up in the wake of a clamor by certain “new Corystas” to persuade Noynoy to seek the presidency. But the only son of Cory and the martyred Ninoy Aquino seems to be reluctant to throw his hat into the political arena, just like his mother in 1986 when she was being shoved to challenge the hated Marcos, when asked whether he’ll run or not run for president. Is he waiting, like his mother then, for one million signatures to convince him to run? Or as he himself suggested, he?d like to see people wear yellow shirts to help him in his decision? Or he’s waiting for his four sisters to give him the go-signal? There is something wrong about all this child-like posture of Noynoy. Many political observers, particularly the Cory-watchers then, still remember when Cory Aquino, the reluctant widow of Ninoy, finally agreed to run against the dictator after she was presented with one million signatures by then Manila Times publisher Chino Roces. And now, his son Edgardo Roces is doing a reprise, gathering a million signatures, too, to convince Noynoy to run. Perhaps, Chino’s son should be reminded that his father later became disenchanted when he saw that Cory, who served for six years, had failed to deliver and solve decisively the mess of problems left behind by the Marcos regime. He even led street demos to show his utter disappointment, and when he died no less than Cory confessed in her funeral speech during the wake for Chino Roces her failure to stop the Kamaganak, Inc. and other opportunistic politicians, incompetent government officials and, yes, political cronies.. The same fate awaits Noynoy and other presidential aspirants as well when and if any one of them ascends to Malacañang where they’ll find the mountain of garbage that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would leave behind in June 30, 2010. It would be just like before, or as the French would say, déjà vu!

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