Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday dismissed the results of the recent SWS presidential survey showing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on top as mere propaganda coming from the camp of Duterte and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.
"Ito po ay isang propaganda galing sa Duterte at Cayetano camp na kumbaga ay niluto," Trillanes said at a forum. "Sinasabi natin na niluto kasi kung titingnan n'yo 'yung tanong ay talagang isinubo na 'yung pangalan ni Mayor Duterte."
He added: "Tingnan n'yo 'yung question. Very obvious 'yung question. You don't state that... It's violative. Those who are well-versed in qualitative research, hindi papayagan 'yan."
He also pointed out that the survey firm also conducts its polls in Davao, known as Duterte's bailiwick, which to Trillanes means it would "automatically favor" Duterte.
The SWS survey titled "Project ROD 11-15," which showed Duterte in first place with 38 percent, was conducted on November 26 to 28, with 1,200 respondents.
It asked, "Ibang listahan naman po ang gamitin natin. Kasama dito si Rodrigo Duterte bilang isang substitute candidate. Sa mga sumusunod na pangalan sa listahang ito, sino po ang malamang ninyong iboboto bilang PRESIDENTE NG PILIPINAS, kung ang eleksyon ay gaganapin ngayon?"
The SWS poll was commissioned by businessman William J. Lima, believed to be Duterte's friend.
Not the usual question
For his part, SWS director Leo Laroza admitted that the question asked in the survey was "not the usual question, that's for sure."
"This is a commissioned survey, this is different from what the SWS would field," he said in a report on "Balita Pilipinas."
He added that the "ideal scenario" would have been for SWS to use a list of presidential candidates from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on its surveys.
Jay Sandoval, also a director of SWS, said sponsors, however, could not influence the outcome of the survey.
"Basta ang SWS lalo na 'yung mga commissioned surveys, ang masasabi ko walang kinalaman 'yung nag-sponsor ng survey dun sa resultang ilalabas ng SWS," he said in the same report.
"Kung anong number ang ma-process namin dun sa pag-record ng interviews, iyon din ang ilalabas naming resulta maski sino man ang nag-sponsor ng survey," he added.
Additionally, Sandoval and SWS Survey Data Library Director Leo Laroza explained that the survey's name was a random code assigned to the project, with no special meaning.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple noted that mentioning Duterte's name in the question may have an impact on the respondents' answer.
But he added that the survey results don't mean that this will necessarily be the trend that will hold until next year's elections.
Casiple cautioned the public about survey results as this could be used by candidates as campaign tools.
Before Duterte speech
Trillanes, a staunch supporter of colleague and presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe, also said the survey was conducted before Duterte's profanity-laced proclamation speech last November 30, which was aired on national TV.
In his speech, which lasted for more than an hour, Duterte did not shy away from his usual tough talk, peppering obscenities into an address where he boasted of killing kidnappers and cursing Pope Francis for traffic brought by road closures for the January papal visit.
"Ito ay ginawa bago nagsalita si Mayor Duterte, kung saan maraming nadismaya sa kaniyang pronouncements, so 'yun ang mga kailangang i-factor in," Trillanes said.
The recent SWS survey results have Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe tied in second place with 21 percent, followed by administration bet Mar Roxas and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 15 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Senator Francis Escudero, Poe's running mate, still leads the preferences for vice president with 30 percent. He was followed by Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. (24 percent), Cayetano with (21 percent), Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (12 percent), and Senator Gregorio Honasan (6 percent).
Trillanes was last in the ranking with 5 percent.
Still, Trillanes said he is "as excited as ever" about his vice-presidential bid, saying just like in 2007, when he ran for senator for first time amid detention, he is relying on the people's votes to turn his standing around.
"It's not the first time that I was the last. Like I said, back in 2007, I was the last. It was an impossible campaign: I was detained, I didn't have any party, I didn't have money, but things turned around, people saw that I could be their representative in the Senate," he said.
Poe, for her part, expressed no worry Monday after Duterte seized from her the top spot in the SWS' latest presidential preference survey.
“Alam ninyo pag ikaw ay masyadong magugulatin hindi ka talaga pwede sa labang ganito. Para sa amin talagang dapat nakatutok sa trabaho,” Poe told reporters after her speech before government employees in Pasay City.
Poe admitted that the disqualification cases filed against her might have affected her ratings.
“Noong mga nakaraang linggo at buwan, nakatutok kasi din ang interes ng tao sa mga kaso ko na hindi napapansin masyado at nabibigyang pananaw yung aking mga nais na layunin sa ating mga kababayan," Poe said.
She said the disqualification petitions might have also confused the public.
“Sa tingin ko may malaking dahilan din diyan, hindi rin alam ng ating mga kababayan yung tuloy ba ang laban natin,” Poe said.
The senator is facing four disqualification petitions before the Commission on Elections. The poll body's Second Division recently ruled that she lacks the residency requirement for those seeking the presidency.
Asked if a survey should be believed regardless of who commissioned it, Poe said she will let the people decide the matter.
“Ang tao na ang maghuhusga,” she said.
Roxas allies still confident
The camp of administration standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II expressed confidence Monday that he would win the May 2016 elections despite the latest SWS survey showing him at fourth place.
Koalisyon ng Daang Matuwid spokesman and Akbayan party-list Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez III said the SWS latest voter preference poll proves that Roxas’ rating has been rising steadily.
“Nine months ago, Secretary Mar was at four percent, and its evident from all recent surveys— including this one— that his number have gone up significantly since then,” Gutierrez said in a text message.
“We are confident that [Roxas' ratings] will improve as he continues to reach out more Filipinos and to articulate his message of Daang Matuwid,” he added.
Marikina City Rep. Romero Federico Quimbo, another spokesman for the administration, said the results of the SWS survey was not indicative of how the public will vote next May.
“Hindi pa tapos ang laban, Actually magsisimula pa lamang sa Febraury ang campaign. Doon magkakalaaman ng mga plataporma na gagawing batayan ng mga tao sa pagpili ng boto,” Quimbo said.
Realistic but results may still change
Even Senator Sergio Osmeña, a known political expert, said the rankings could still change.
“It seems to be a realistic survey, it was perhaps commissioned by a follower of Mayor Duterte but it was not something unexpected as far as I am concerned,” Osmeña told reporters Monday.
Osmeña said there could still be changes in the attitude or preference of the people.
“Pwede nga magpalit yan. A survey taken today may not yield the same results of survey taken after a month so we have to see. Continuing naman ang debate diyan, lalong-lalo sa presidentiables. nagbabakbakan sila. They will throw mud to each other and sometimes the mud tend to stick so we will have to wait,” he said. —KBK/NB, GMA News