26 March 2013
Team PNoy senatorial bet Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero dropped from Number 2 position in the Social Weather Stations (SWS) March survey to Number 4, losing 12 percentage points, with him claiming that he was ganged up on in the smear campaign launched against him, adding that the demolition efforts directed against him already are being reflected in the latest survey results.
Escudero, who had 62 percent in February now has only 48 percent of the intended vote.
Also taking big drops in the SWS survey ratings are Team PNoy’s senatorial bets Grace Poe Llamanzares who placed Number 6, but is now down at Number 11.
But even as Sen. Loren Legarda stayed at first place, she lost 5 percentage points from the SWS February survey, obtaining 59 percent from 64 percent.
Cynthia Villar who was in solo 4th place last month with a vote of 53 percent, slid to 48 percent and now ranks from 5 to 7, tied with Sen. Koko Pimentel.
Alan Peter Cayetano jumped to number 2, with the same but with the same 58 percent of intended votes.
The latest survey results showed Legarda of Team PNoy leading the tally as choice of 59 percent of respondents, followed by Cayetano with 57 percent, with United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Rep. JV Ejercito in third place and Escudero in fourth place at 48 percent; UNA’s Nancy Binay, Team PNoy’s Cynthia Villar and Sen. Koko Pimentel were also tied with 47 percent in the survey.
Ejercito moved up the ladder strongly from 9th place in the previous survey with his rating adding six points from 42 percent in the February survey.
Escudero had previously said former President Joseph Estrada is campaigning against him after he was dropped from the UNA senatorial list.
UNA had insisted that Escudero’s allegations were not true and that it was Escudero’s failure to honor his commitment to show up in UNA rallies that led to his being dropped from the UNA senatorial slate.
It was the first time in the SWS surveys this year that Escudero’s rating dropped below 60 percent, as his March rating showed a 14-point drop from his February score of 62 percent.
Escudero said a concerted effort to pull him down in the surveys was evident with the personalities whom he did not name as spreading falsehoods against him and his performance as senator.
He cited the apparent smear job launched against the use of his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and the efforts to associate this with the economic state of his home province in Sorsogon.
Escudero said lies are being peddled about Sorsogon being the poorest province in the Bicol region while in fact based on the latest data of the National Statistics Office (NSO) Sorsogon has the lowest poverty incidence in the region.
Posters also recently sprouted on the streets in the Bicol region questioning Escudero’s use of his P2 billion in PDAF received during his current term.
This is the brand of old dirty politics which should have not been present in this campaign period. The less than P2-billion in PDAF that I received during my term was distributed to local government units and regional hospitals throughout the country, Escudero said.
Escudero explained that each senator receives P200 million in PDAF every year, or P1.2 billion for the entire six-year term, and not P2 billion as alleged in the smear posters
The allocations were evenly distributed with P500,000 each downloaded to the local governments for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of public markets. All regional hospitals were also provided funds.
Escudero lamented that even his five-year old twins are starting to be affected by the controversy over his love affair with movie celebrity Heart Evangelista.
“I hope that time will not come when my children will be subjected to ridicule in their school over allegations that are not true,” he said.
“I am resigned to the fact of the brand of dirty politics in the country but I have been clobbered black and blue,” Escudero said.
Former President Estrada yesterday shrugged off reports he is behind the brouhaha brought about by the relationship between Escudero and Heart Evangelista
“Don’t link my name to that issue,” Estrada told the Tribune in a telephone interview. “It is not in my nature to meddle in the personal lives of other people,” he said.
Estrada made the statement in reaction to earlier reports published in another newspaper, quoting a source, alleged that some key figures in UNA could be using the issue as part of their efforts to bring down Escudero.
The report added that a close relative of Evangelista’s parents, Rey and Cecille Ongpauco has strong ties with personalities associated with the UNA, particularly the former president.
“I don’t know them personally,” Estrada stressed. “I only met her (Evangelista) once during the birthday party of (Sen.) Miriam (Santigao).”
Estrada’s son, UNA senatorial bet, San Juan Rep. JV Ejercito Estrada also defended his father saying it is not in the character of the former president to be vindictive.
“President Estrada is busy with his own campaign in Manila,” said Ejercito Estrada. “It is not in his character to be vindictive or personal, Everybody knows that,” JV said.
The San Juan solon called on Escudero to stop pointing at his father as the one behind the expose on his “true character.”