Expletive-prone Mayor Rodrigo Duterte still looms larger than life in the imagination of Filipinos some three months after he announced with glowering reluctance that he was running for the presidency of the Philippines. Duterte has surged to poll-busting prominence on a wave of frustration and disgruntlement, both his own and those of the people he serves.
Using the excuse that he could not allow someone with “presumptive Filipino citizenship” to run for president of the country, referring to rival candidate Grace Poe, expletive-prone Mayor Duterte told ex-schoolmates from the San Beda College of Law on November 22, 2015, he was aiming for the top job in the May 2016 national elections.
Prior to the announcement, he’d resisted calls to run by followers wanting him to go national with his style of governance that has given his Davao City a clean, crime-free and investor-friendly image.
Administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Vice President Jejomar Binay trail behind the expletive-prone mayor with 19 percent and 18 percent, respectively. Senator Grace Poe comes in next with 14 percent in the SMS poll, an innovation by Rappler with Laylo Research to augment traditional polling with text, social media, and the web.
A parallel Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on February 5 to 7 shows Binay’s lead in the presidential race slipping from 31 percent in January to 29 percent in February. According to ABS-CBN News, the plus/minus 3 percent margin of error places him in a statistical tie with Duterte and Poe, each with 24 percent voter support. That expletive-prone Duterte’s numbers improved by four percentage points in the latest survey, while Poe’s numbers remained static and Binay’s slipped, has made pundits call the Davao City mayor a “wild card.”
The new results constitute a comeback for Duterte who took off with overwhelming poll numbers when he announced on November 27, 2015 that he would run after all, following his portracted indecision. Up to 38 percent of potential voters said they would choose Duterte if the elections were held immediately after his announcement, according to the SWS poll released on Monday, December 7. Rappler described it as a big jump for Duterte, who ranked fourth in the previous SWS survey conducted in September.
Still, a major hitch developed because the commissioned poll took place on November 26-28, not including a subsequent backlash for expletive-prone Duterte mouthing off on visiting Pope Francis. The November 30 gaffe slipped out in a speech by the Davao City mayor griping about a traffic gridlock caused by poor planning around the Pope’s visit in Metro Manila.
Consequently, a Pulse Asia Survey conducted from December 4 to 11 revealed punitive numbers against the expletive-prone mayor, 33 percent of respondents deciding to vote for Binay. Duterte fell to second place at 23 percent, almost level with Poe’s 21 percent.
As the expletive-prone presidential candidate climbs back to a dominant position, the electorate is looking with new eyes at the enigmatic Davao City mayor. For all his abrasive mannerisms, it is clear that he gets things done.
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