The Liberal Party (LP) is “happy” with the emergence of Sen. Grace Poe as a possible candidate for president in the 2016 elections but the ruling party on said it would not recruit her to its ranks just yet.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of Quezon City, vice chairman of the LP, made known what he felt a day after a Pulse Asia survey showed Poe gaining 10 percentage points with 18 percent voter preference share, just eight percentage points behind Vice President Jejomar Binay who dropped to 26 percent from his previous 31 percent.
“We’re happy for her, but it’s still a long way to go. Definitely, Senator Grace is the big winner now, but surveys come out at least four times in a year. It [Poe’s standing] will keep changing. It’s too early to make a conjecture on what’s going to happen one and a half years from now,” Belmonte told reporters in a chance interview on Wednesday.
Poe, who has been clear that she would not run for a higher post in 2016, won her Senate seat under the Aquino administration’s Senate slate dubbed as Team PNoy in 2013.
“A lot of surveys will still come out. Other countries even ban the release of surveys two months before [elections]because these can be maneuvered,” Belmonte said.
Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (Metro Manila) LP Chairman for Political Affairs, and LP member Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City echoed Belmonte’s sentiments, noting that survey results coming out after filing of candidacy would bear more weight.
“It would be too early to recruit her. She is welcome to join LP. But we have a process of selecting candidates and surveys are just the reflection of the mood of the times. The President’s choice will make the difference at the right time. The Vice President’s fall means that the people believe in the corruption allegations [against Binay]and they don’t want a corrupt leader,” Erice said.
But for Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela City (Metro Manila), an ally of Binay, the latest Pulse Asia survey proved that the Vice President has weathered the worst storm of the corruption allegations.
The Liberal Party is headed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado has accused Binay of pocketing kickbacks from Makati City’s infrastructure projects and accumulating ill-gotten wealth not disclosed in the Vice President’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
“What is important here is that the feared free fall in the Vice President’s numbers didn’t happen. His biggest drop was during the 3rd quarter survey when his numbers dropped by 10 percentage points (from 41 to 31). The VP’s five percent drop in the latest survey could be considered as marginal,” Gatchalian said.
“There is no way for the Vice President’s numbers (to go) but up. The public has a saturation point wherein an overload of information will result [in]confusion and subsequent perception that everything being thrown against the Vice President is propaganda,” he added.