2019 elections preview: New names and alliances, old faces and surprises

April 24, 2018 - 6:22 PM
New and old faces figure in the latest Pulse Asia survey of possible senatorial candidates and voters' sentiments. (Artwork by Uela Badayos)

With just around a year before the country heads back to the  polls, the recent Pulse Asia survey on possible senatorial hopefuls has set politics-savvy Filipinos abuzz.

The list of 58 possible candidates for next year’s race reveals not just the turning of the tide through new alliances, but an old guard that refuses to be replaced.

PDP-Laban allies on top and at bottom

Sen. Grace Poe notched an impressive 96 percent on the awareness chart, with 70.8 percent of voters at the time of the survey period opting to vote for her. She is joined by fellow incumbents Sen. Cynthia Villar, Rep. Pia Cayetano (Taguig), Sen. Nancy Binay, and Sen. Sonny Angara in the top five.

Meanwhile, Bataan representative Geraldine Roman came in last in the survey of 58 projected candidates. The lower house freshman registered 19 percent on awareness with just 0.2 percent willing to support her run for senator.

Both Poe and Roman, as with the rest of top five, were named as part of the ruling PDP-Laban’s possible lineup for next year’s senatorial race.

Shocking development for Poe, Binay

The inclusion of Poe and Binay, who topped the recent poll, in the PDP-Laban’s pool of hopefuls came at the disdained surprise for some.

Poe, who led the Senate probe into alleged fake news and demanded for palace accountability on the matter and who decried the killing of two teenagers last year from arising from the drug war has drawn flak from administration critics.

Others were also shocked when Binay, who had been critical of some of the administration directives such as the unexpected cancellation of classes during last month’s jeepney strike and the detainment of human rights worker Sister Patricia Fox, was named on the PDP-Laban list.

Possible administration entrants with a dream

If the Pulse Asia survey were any indication, those who were most likely to land a spot in the actual race are senatorial newcomers outgoing Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte-Carpio had earlier been reported to be forming her own party to contest her father’s ruling PDP-Laban.

News anchor Erwin Tulfo also appeared on the list. Tulfo was threatened with libel charges by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV last year for spreading “fake news” over alleged foreign bank accounts named to him.

Administration critics have also circulated a video of Tulfo using some strong language in criticizing Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Some of the most outspoken administration figures and supporters did not have the fortune of De la Rosa, Duterte-Carpio, and Tulfo.

Presidential Communications Operations Office assistant secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson, who was also named in the projected PDP-Laban slate, ranked 50th in the survey near the bottom.

Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, the subject of brewing early campaign publicity, ranked a lackluster 38th.

Familiar faces looking for second chance?

Mar Roxas, the second-placer in the last presidential race, appeared on the 19th spot.

Old supporters appear to be ecstatic about the former senator and Interior and Local Government chief returning to politics.

Some however think that Roxas’ hopes have dimmed, following his failed vice presidential and presidential bids in 2010 and 2016.

Former senators Sergio Osmeña III (8th), Lito Lapid (10th), and Teofisto Guingona Jr. (20th) also appeared on the list.

Both Osmeña and Guingona ran in 2016 but landed short of the Magic 12, finishing at 14th and 17th respectively.

The idea of the former action star Lapid, who sat in the senate from 2004-2016, returning to the political arena did not sit well with some.

Lapid has made a recent appearance as a member of the cast of primetime hit “Ang Probinsiyano.”


Lapid is known for co-authoring the Legal Assistance to the Poor Act of 2010. 

Unexpected but familiar

Tulfo and Lapid are not the only big names from the media and entertainment sector to land on the list.

Ranked even higher than a good number of the PDP-Laban hopefuls are actors Robin Padilla and Dingdong Dantes, at 16th and 21st respectively.

Padilla has worked closely with the rehabilitation efforts of Marawi while Dantes is reported to have joined a leadership seminar at Harvard University.

Padilla and Dantes ranked higher than a good number of the projected hopefuls named in the PDP-Laban slate, such as former MMDA chief Francis Tolentino (23rd), PAO chief Persida Acosta (26th), Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles (27th), and presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (28th).

Other showbiz people already involved in politics such Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista (14th), former Manila City vice-mayor Isko Moreno (25th), and Leyte 4th district representative Lucy Torres-Gomez (30th). Moreno finished 16th in the previous senatorial race.