Grace Poe top choice for Philippine Vice President in poll; Roxas a far second

MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe, who has closed in on Vice President Jejomar Binay as the voters' preferred President in 2016, is also the leading choice for Vice President, results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey last month showed.

Poe was chosen by 26 per cent of the 1,200 adult respondents who were asked to name a candidate they would likely vote for the second-highest post in the country.

The respondents were not given a list of names and were asked to give only one name.

The survey was conducted from March 20 to 23. It had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points for national data.

Behind Poe were Interior Secretary Mar Roxas with 12 per cent and Binay with 7 per cent.

All three, together with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, were among the leading choices to replace President Aquino in 2016, results of the same SWS survey released last week showed.

Binay was the favoured presidential candidate of 36 per cent of the respondents while Poe was picked by 31 per cent. Roxas and Duterte were tied at third place with 15 per cent.

Neophyte has advantage

"The public sees Poe as a newcomer and voters are looking for a new candidate who can be trusted," said Earl Parreño, a member of the board of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform in a phone interview.

Being a neophyte comes with an advantage and a disadvantage, Parreño said. The advantage, he said, is that one has no bad record while the disadvantage is that he or she has less experience.

The results of the survey showed Poe was a shoo-in for Vice President and this was the reason several parties were convincing her to run in the next elections, according to Parreño.

He, however, noted that with more than a year before the elections, the ratings could still change.

Poe, who is in the middle of her first term in the Senate, has not declared her plans for 2016.

Other names that appeared in the survey of vice presidential preference included Sen. Francis Escudero (6 per cent), Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago (5 per cent) and Duterte (4 per cent).

Also mentioned with 3 per cent each were Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Other names were Sen. Loren Legarda (1.7 per cent), former Senators Panfilo Lacson (1.6 per cent) and Manny Villar (0.6 per cent), detained Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (0.6 per cent) and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto (0.6 per cent).

Marcos said he was not supporting Poe yet.

A member of the Nacionalista Party, Marcos said he was taking this position because he did not know Poe's plans and which party she would align with should she seek the presidency.

"Should she join the Nacionalista (Party), then we will help her. If not, we will help our own candidate, not her," said Marcos, replying to questions raised by reporters in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga province.

Marcos, who claimed he had no plans to run for President in the 2016 elections, said he was not committing the Ilocano votes to Poe.

"That's up to her. She has to campaign [and seek their support]," he said.

'Sister' Poe

A local columnist asked Marcos: "Are you running with your sister?"

Marcos, perplexed, asked: "Sister?"

When the columnist referred to Poe, who has long been rumored to be the daughter of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos with an actress, the senator said: "I have no other sisters. Imee (Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos) and Irene [Marcos-Araneta] are my only sisters."

At the press briefing, another reporter took up the same matter, by asking if the senator and Poe have blood relations.

Marcos made light of the situation, replying that because of persistent rumours about their supposed kinship, he has been fondly calling Poe "Sis" and she, addressing him as "Kuya," or elder brother.

Poe, a daughter of the late actor and National Artist Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces, topped the senatorial race in the May 2013 elections.