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Maaga pa! Kiko shrugs off poor performance of opposition bets in surveys

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By Xave Gregorio

Liberal Party President Senator Francis Pangilinan is unbothered by the poor performance of the opposition’s Senate bets in the pre-election surveys for the polls next year.

Pangilinan said it is still “too early” into election season to determine with certainty who would be taking 12 fresh seats in the upper house come 2019.

“Marami pang mangyayari. The elections are still in May [2019.] ‘Yang initial result na ‘yan, marami pang mababago diyan eh,” he said Monday (July 9) in an interview at the sidelines of the bicameral conference committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“Sa ngayon ang mga kababayan natin hindi pa talaga iniisip ang eleksyon eh. Ang iniisip nila mataas ang presyo ng bilhin, ang iniisip nila ‘yung hanapbuhay, paano makakadagdag ng kita, paano mababawasan yung gastos sa mataas na presyo ng bigas, paano mapapababa ‘yan,” he said.

Only re-electionist Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino figured in the winner’s circle in the latest Pulse Asia pre-election survey, while other opposition bets are trailing far behind.

The opposition Senate slate, called “The Resistance,” currently carries Aquino, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, Free Legal Assistance Group chair and De La Salle University College of Law Dean Chel Diokno, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Barry Gutierrez and actress Agot Isidro.

Of them, only Isidro, who is still undecided if she would be running, breached the 30-mark, ranking 23 to 32.

Alejano and Gutierrez both ranked 43 to 56, while Tañada’s name did not even appear in the survey.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who has been floated as a possible senatorial candidate of the opposition, placed last in the survey at 57 to 58.

Still, Pangilinan is undeterred. He said that in the past elections, politikos who ranked as low as the 25th spot still managed to snag seats.

The opposition leader, however, said that they still have to “work harder” to convey their message to the public — something which they are still working on.

“‘Yung ating coalition ay nagmi-meeting pa at nagpupulong pa at hinahanda pa ang magiging mensahe natin sa halalan at ano ang magiging hugis nito, at ano ang magiging slogan, ano ang magiging messaging natin, binabalangkas pa ‘yan,” Pangilinan said.

But he added that the opposition’s messaging would most likely center on issues including the poor economy, rising prices and the government’s tax reform program.