‘Surveys manipulated to favor admin bets’

University of the Philippines professor Prospero "Popoy" de Vera on Thursday questioned two Pulse Asia surveys conducted only two days apart that showed different results, saying these may have been manipulated to project the rise of a candidate.

"What happened to the two days when many Filipinos suddenly changed their minds?" he asked.

The latest Pulse Asia survey conducted from April 26 to April 29 showed administration bet Manuel "Mar" Roxas 2nd gaining two points to overtake Sen. Grace Poe.

In the vice presidential race, Roxas' running mate Leni Robredo jumped four points to overtake perennial frontrunner Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The previous Pulse Asia survey was conducted two days earlier, from April 19 to 24.

De Vera said he could not help but be suspicious of the results.

"It seems abnormal. It's suspicious, that's why the camp of Senator Marcos is apprehensive that the survey results are fixed," he noted.

De Vera explained that when issues hound a candidate, it takes about one month for the surveys to reflect results in public opinion.

But in the case of the recent surveys, he pointed out, there was no issue that could have affected the results in just two days.

"We saw this when [Davao City Mayor Rodrigo] Duterte cursed the Pope. But when a survey is conducted two days after another survey, then the sudden change in results is suspicious without clear reason. There is a need for a deeper survey to prove that the change in ranking had a valid reason," de Vera said.

He added that survey results are merely being released to the media which is dangerous because there is no way the people will know the specific details used in arriving at the results.

"The more frequent the surveys, trending is formed. Some camps resort to manipulate the results to attack their opponents or make themselves look stronger than they really are. That is a possibility," de Vera said.

The UP professor added that he will propose that in the next elections, survey firms will not be allowed to release results a month before the polls to give the people a free hand in choosing their leaders.

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Marcos also on Thursday warned voters against falling for rigged survey results.

He noted that in the latest surveys, he lost an unbelievable six to 11 percentage points.

With around 55 million registered voters, Marcos said this translates to up to around six million votes that he inexplicably lost last week.

"This is clearly an attempt to trend. Niloloko na nila ang tao sa pamamagitan ng surveys na hindi kapani-paniwala yung kanilang mga numero [They are fooling the people through surveys that are unbelievable]," he told reporters during the weekly media forum Kapihan sa Senado.

"Nothing has happened that could explain it. It would take a very large and important event for the change in trend in those numbers. I don't remember anything big in the past two weeks," the senator said.

Marcos warned that this scheme could lead to cheating.

"Who will be the biggest beneficiary of this trending, of this obviously concocted numbers that they have in the surveys? The administration is the only one who can do that. Nobody but the administration candidates are going up, everybody else is going down," he stressed.

Marcos urged voters to take active measures to protect their votes.

He also asked all political parties to join in the efforts to protect the sanctity of the ballot.

Roxas and Robredo however warned their rivals against sourgraping.

"If ever there's a party responsible here, then it's the survey companies. These politicians are laughable. When they were the ones on top, they say these surveys are credible. Now that they are down, they say that those surveys could not be trusted," Roxas told reporters.

Robredo echoed Roxas' statement.

"When he (Bongbong) was number one, he believed the survey. Now that he is not on top, he does not believe it anymore. He should remember that this is not the first time that I ended up number 1. I have been on top in consecutive surveys," Robredo said.

Roxas likened the surveys to a thermometer whose results cannot be dismissed when it is inconvenient for the patient.

"When we were trailing, they were so silent. Now that we are on the rise, they keep on complaining," he said.

"When I was number 6 or number 4, we believed it because we used it as a guide. Now that I am on top and leading by two points, I know I still have to do more," Roxas added.

Source: Manila Time