Women lead survey on Senate candidates

Four women lead the list of leading senatorial candidates in a survey conducted by Pulse Asia last month.

Leading the survey were Sen. Grace Poe, wih 67.4 percent of the votes of a sample of 1,800 registered voters. She was followed by Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano with 55.7 percent, Sen. Cynthia Villar with 50.1 percent, and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio with 46.2 percent.

Next in the list are Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, 41.9 percent; former Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, 37,9 percent; Sen. Nancy Binay, 37.1 percent; former Sen. Sergio Osmena, 36.6 percent; former Sen. Lito Lapid, 35.6 percent; and Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino, 32.1 percent.

Senator Poe had this to say on the survey findings: “The survey is about trust and appeal for public service that ought to be felt, especially by the poor. It is also the people’s affirmation for the work of the women in politics.”

The Philippine Senate has had three to six female members out of 24 since 2001, while the House of Representatives now has 87 out of 292 members. We have had two female presidents – Corazon C. Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Their election attest to the public trust and appeal for women as public servants that Senator Poe spoke of.

But the principal appeal of the leading names in the Pulse Asia survey is not so much their being women as their demonstrated capability and leadership. Senator Poe showed her detemination in inquiries she led as chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Public Order. She is remembered for standing in line for hours with ordinary office workers waiting for rides in the Metro Rail Transit in the course of a Senate probe on MRT irregularities.

There are still nine months to go before the midterm elections in May, 2019, in which half of the Senae membership and the entire House will be elected, along with all local officials – governors, vice governors, and provincial board members, and mayors, vice mayors, and city and town council members. But the maneuvering for support has begun in earnest.

Party membership has not been an important factor in Philippine elections since martial law in 1972 effectively demolished the party system. But the individual appeal and record of each candidate is. Thus we know, from the Pulse Asia survey, who are likely to be elected to the Senate next year.