'Toxic’ political atmosphere pulled down VP ratings

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday, October 7, said it is not worried despite the steep drop of his ratings in two nationwide surveys.

The results of two recent surveys conducted by Pulse Asia Research, Inc showed a dip in Binay’s standing both in the presidential polls and his approval and trust ratings.

Both surveys were conducted just as Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, faced plunder complaints for an alleged overpriced city building.

The plunder case later sparked a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee probe.

“It’s still the same. The trust rating is really the effect of the toxicity of the political atmosphere,” Cavite Governor Juanito Victor Remulla, the Vice President’s spokesman for political affairs, told Rappler in a phone interview.

Remulla pointed out that other key government officials had also recorded a drop – including President Benigno Aquino III and Senate President Franklin Drilon.

The Binay camp has dismissed the Senate probe, led by Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Antonio Trillanes IV, as as a ploy to drag Binay down in time for the 2016 polls.

Binay is the only candidate who has announced plans of running for the presidency in 2016. Cayetano and Trillanes, both from the Nacionalista Party (NP), have both hinted at plans to run for higher office in 2015.

Despite the dip, Remulla said they remain confident that the Vice President will win in the end.

Binay vs Roxas, Poe

After all, Binay still leads in presidential polls. The leader of the political opposition is the runaway winner in a September Pulse Asia survey with 31% of respondents saying they would vote for Binay, though this is 10 percentage points lower than in the previous survey.

The presumptive candidate of the ruling Liberal Party, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II was among the biggest winners in the same survey with 13% saying they would vote for him – higher than his 7% rating in the June survey.

A “parallel” survey taken around the same time as Pulse Asia shows a sunnier scenario for the vice president. Regardless of who is pitted against him, if the elections were conducted today, Binay would win the presidential polls by a landslide.

Remulla told Rappler that simulated one-on-one races between Binay and two presumptive candidates – Roxas and Senator Grace Poe – show Binay in a considerable lead.

Should it be a race between Binay and Roxas, 60% would pick the Vice President while only 27% would pick the LP stalwart, said Remulla.

If it were Binay against Poe, Binay would still be the winner – 55% of respondents said they would vite for Binay while only 33% would vote for the newbie Senator, said Remulla, quoting the survey results.

Still confident

Remulla assailed the subcommittee members anew in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is apparent that the Senate sub-committee probe was intended to influence the surveys,” he said.

Binay’s camp – both his own spokespersons and those from his party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) – had earlier expressed confidence that the probe would have minimal effect on the Vice President.

Remulla pointed out that the more recent Pulse Asia “Ulat ng Bayan” was “one-sided” since it only covered the start of the Senate probe and not the Vice President’s televised speech.

“We feel that it would have been a different picture had the survey captured this event since the people would have heard the Vice President's point by point reply,” the governor said.

Binay’s camp also made it clear that the Vice President has no plans of appearing before the Blue Ribbon subcommittee, which extended him a formal invitation weeks back. (READ: Binays get no support from Guingona on jurisdiction challenge)

“The Vice President is grateful that he remains [the] most trusted government official despite the baseless attacks. He will continue clarifying the issues directly to the people and performing his duties,” said Remulla. – Rappler.com