Philippine Presidential Polls 2016: With Weeks To Go, Rodrigo Duterte Surges To Slim Lead Over Grace Poe

Nathan Francis

The Philippine presidential polls for 2016 show an increasingly tight race, with Rodrigo Duterte surging to a slim lead over Grace Poe just a month before the vote.

As the May 9 election grows ever closer, the mass of Philippine presidential polls show what could be a wide open race with three candidates within roughly 10 points of one another. An aggregate of all Philippine presidential polls compiled and posted on Wikipedia shows that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who as recent as one month ago polled behind both Grace Poe and Jejomar Binay, has recently surged into first with support of roughly 30 percent of voters. Poe is just behind with close to 27 percent support while Binay has fallen off, sinking to 17 percent support.

Many are predicting a race that will come down to Poe and Duterte, including Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

“In the end I believe it will be between Duterte and Poe,” said Pimentel, head of Duterte’s PDP-Laban.

Though the 2016 Philippine presidential polls show her in an increasingly close race, Grace Poe may have cleared an important hurdle this week that could have kept her out of the race entirely. Reports indicated that the Supreme Court finalized a March ruling that her candidacy can move forward, a ruling that will be officially announced later in the month. The Commission on Elections had previously canceled her certificate of presidency, but a court found that it did so in error.

The court found that Poe, who lived in the United States, met requirements of being a natural-born Filipino and living in the Philippines for at least 10 years.

The news of the decision came from Philippine media outlets but not yet from the court itself. Poe said she will not comment until the ruling is made official.

“We could not comment yet as the decision reported in the news article came from a source. We will wait for the SC to release the decision. We continue to pray for a favorable ruling,” she said (via GMA News Online).

Poe also fought back this week against critics who have questioned her commitment to the Philippines. Poe said that her husband’s experience in the United States Air Force was not an issue, and defended their purchase of a home in Virginia.

“Other candidates probably inherited those types of houses. Others probably used other means to buy a house like that. But we directly borrowed it and, since we were working, we paid in tranches,” said Poe (via the Inquirer).

Grace Poe added that she and her husband have been open about their finances and that they worked “to meet the needs of their family through honorable means, which was the dream of all Filipinos,” the Inquirer reported.

“In America, you have to declare everything that you earn. I hope people don’t put too much malice on it because we never kept it from the public,” said Poe.

“Whoever is claiming that it was a million-dollar mansion, we didn’t buy it at that price,” she added.

Poe also pointed out that many prominent Filipinos came to the United States to attend military school, including former President Fidel V. Ramos.

Poe also implied that the questions about her background don’t compare to allegations of corruption leveled against some of the other Philippine presidential candidates.

“It’s sad that they always bring up my private life where I never did anything wrong. For my husband, you can take Filipinos away from the Philippines but you can’t take away the Philippines from the heart of a Filipino,” said Poe.

“All these issues do not involve plunder or cheating. We have already disclosed these,” she said.

There will still be opportunities for the 2016 Philippine presidential polls to change. The vice presidential candidates will debate this weekend, and the last presidential debate will take place April 24.

[Picture by KJ Rosale/Associated Press]