Duterte camp confident he will still lead the race despite..

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/20 April) — Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to lead the Presidential race with 32% and 33% in the latest surveys conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) before the outrage over his controversial rape remarks but his national campaign manager, an activist who left the priesthood, remains confident he will continue leading the race.

“I urge you to rally behind, vote for him and protect those precious votes.  A vote for him is a vote for tomorrow and the future of your children, our next generation,” Leoncio Evasco, Jr., Duterte’s national campaign manager who is ending his third term as mayor of Maribojoc town in Bohol, said in a statement (read statement) issued on the same day the Duterte-Cayetano camp issued a statement of apology purportedly coming from Duterte and the Pulse Asia Survey results came out with Duterte leading by 7 percentage points over Senator Grace Poe.

Released on April 19, the latest Pulse Asia survey on April 5 to 10, done for ABS-CBN, had Duterte leading with 32%. The results came two days after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released its April 13 to 14 mobile survey for TV-5’s Bilang Pilipino where Poe, with 34%, statistically tied with Duterte’s 33%.

The Pulse Asia Survey had Duterte leading with 32%, followed by Poe with 25%, Vice President Jejomar Binay with 20% who statistically tied with administration bet Mar Roxas (18%) and Miriam Defensor-Santiago with 1%.

The SWS survey had Poe and Duterte statistically tied at 34% and 33%, respectively, followed by Roxas with 16%, Binay with 15% and Santiago with 1%.

The Bilang Pilipino SWS Mobile Survey is a joint undertaking of SWS, TV5 Network Inc., Voyager Innovations, Inc, Philippine Star, Starmobile and Smart Communications.

In the Pulse Asia survey, Duterte’s rating upped by 2% more from 30% during the March 29 to April 3 survey to 32% in the April 5 to 10 survey.

Going up

He maintained his 32% in the National Capital Region (NCR), gained one percentage point more in the Balance of Luzon from 19% to 20% and in socio-economic class D from 31% to 32%, surged in the Visayas – supposedly the claimed bailiwicks of Roxas, Poe and Santiago – from 25% to 29% and gained more voters in Mindanao from 55% to 58% and got the biggest percentage rise from among socio-economic class, from 26% in the previous survey to 31% a few days later.

In the SWS survey, Poe gained 11 percentage points from 23% in the March 30 to April 2 survey to 34% in the April 13-14 survey while Duterte, who statistically tied with Poe, gained six percentage points from 27% to 33%. Binay lost 5 percentage points from 20% to 15% while Roxas and Santiago lost 2 percentage points each, from 18% to 16% for Roxas and from 3% to 1% for Santiago.

The SWS said Duterte topped the NCR or Metro Manila with 36%, 12 points ahead of Poe (245). Binay got 18%, Roxas 17% and Santiago, 2%.

But in the Balance Luzon, Poe got 44%, 21 points ahead of Duterte’s 23% followed by Binay with 19%, Roxas (13%) and Santiago (1%).

In the Visayas, Poe had 33%, five points ahead of Roxas (28%) who is statistically tied with Duterte’s 27%. Binay received10% while Santiago, who is from the Visayas, got 2%. One percent were undecided.

In Mindanao, Duterte posted 58%, 36 points ahead of Poe’s 22%. Roxas got 9%, Binay 8% and Santiago 1%.

In class ABC, Duterte was the top choice for 39%, eight points ahead of Poe’s 31%; in Class E, 37% compared with Poe’s 30% but in Class D, Poe was top choice for 35% compared with Duterte’s 33%.

Viral video

In a video clip from the April 12 Amoranto speech that went viral, Duterte said that upon seeing the body of an Australian missionary killed during a hostage-taking in Davao City in August 1989: “Put_ng ina, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin ‘yun. Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang” (Son__b_ch, what a pity. What came to my mind was, they raped her, lined up for her. I was angry because she was raped. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a pity).

Amid calls fro him to apologize, Duterte told television reporters in Davao City afternoon of April 17 that he did not care if his remarks would cost him the presidency as he refused to apologize for uttering what he described was “gutter language” in his Amoranto speech.

The seven-term Davao City mayor said he was “not joking” and acknowledged that what he said was “gutter language” uttered “in the heat of anger.”

In Bacolod City on April 18, he insisted he would not apologize but morning of April 19, the Duterte-Cayetano camp sent media outlets a five-paragraph statement purportedly coming from Duterte, apologizing to the Filipino people “for my recent remarks in a rally. There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this horrible crime. Sometimes my mouth can get the better of me.”

The statement continued that he “will not apologize for the things I’ve done to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime. I know what it can do to the victims and their families. The anguish and pain they cause. The trauma that can’t be erased. I have witnessed these myself numerous times.

It said Duterte is “angry because horrendous things like this continue to happen to our women and children all over our land. And sadly, government has failed to protect them.”

The statement also cited a promise by Duterte that if he is given the chance to lead the country, “I will protect our women, children and families from the horrors and disorder that crime inflicts. I will do this even if I lose my life, my honor and even the presidency.”

“My life is an open book. I am a man of many flaws and contradictions. But when it comes to securing the lives and future of our countrymen and women, you can trust me to do the right thing. I will fight for my people until my last breath,” the statement quoted Duterte as saying.

CNN Philippines, in a report from Iloilo City on April 19 titled “Duterte’s ‘apology’ creates confusion,” said Duterte told reporters there that “he knows nothing about this statement.”

“When asked about it, Duterte didn’t sound like he was actually apologetic. He said he’s sorry that the rape and killing of hostages in 1989 happened, but he didn’t apologize for any remark he made,” the CNN report said, adding that “while cursing,” Duterte said “Wag niyo nang ipilit dahil hindi talaga ako mag-apologize” (Don’t insist on it because I really won’t apologize).

The April 19 statement e-mailed by the Duterte-Cayetano camp was not posted on Duterte’s Facebook account. But his videotaped interview in Davao City on April 17 was posted.

Political analysts said Duterte’s rape remarks could affect his lead in the next surveys.

ABS-CBN News quoted Dean Julio Teehankee of the De La Salle University College of Liberal Arts as saying that Duterte might find it difficult to “wiggle himself out” of this controversy at this stage in the campaign.

“He’ll definitely take a hit in the next survey. It’s just a question of how much. If he survives the backlash, he will win,” he told ABS-CBN News.

The report also quoted Prof. Edna Co, executive director of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies, as saying Duterte could still maintain his lead and that “the last two weeks or so prior to election could be dramatic.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/ MindaNews)