Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late Philippines dictator, will skip another rally of presidential candidates as he widens his lead in a survey by pollster Pulse Asia Research Inc. in January.
Marcos, a former senator, was chosen by 60% of 2,400 respondents, Pulse Asia said on Sunday, higher than the 53% he got in December. Vice President Leni Robredo, leader of the opposition, came second with 16%. The survey was conducted from January 19 to 24, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2%.
Marcos, in a speech Monday after the survey results were released, repeated his message of national unity. Robredo’s camp meanwhile said on Sunday that the results of the investigation did not take into account recent media interviews, and added that the vice president “has clear momentum.”
The investigation was conducted ahead of last week’s decision by a division of the Electoral Commission which threw out three petitions to disqualify Marcos. The people behind the petitions said they would appeal. The poll was also taken before controversies over Marcos’ absences in interviews and media forums.
Marcos will skip a Feb. 27 presidential debate hosted by CNN Philippines, the broadcaster announced on Twitter on Monday, adding that the other nine contenders for the top job will be in attendance. Earlier this month, Marcos also declined an invitation to attend a media forum for the candidates, citing a scheduling conflict.
The Pulse Asia survey also showed boxer and Senator Manny Pacquiao and Mayor and former Manila City actor Isko Moreno tied for third with 8% each, while Senator Panfilo Lacson was 5th with 4% each. . The elections will take place on May 9.
Davao Mayor Sara Duterte – Marcos’ running mate and daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte – led the vice-presidential race with 50%. Senate President Tito Sotto came second with 29%.
When asked who they would choose if their top picks for president and vice president did not pursue their candidacies, Moreno and Sotto topped the list.