DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 08 March) – Supporters of former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go cheered reports released by his camp that he has “surged to break into the top three slots” in the latest survey on the senatorial race allegedly conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) but SWS President Mahar Mangahas said it’s not theirs.
Mangahas told MindaNews Thursday night that what is not posted on their website is not theirs.
The alleged “SWS survey” is not posted on the SWS website.
According to a press release issued by Go’s camp, the survey, allegedly conducted February 25-28, 2019, “showed Go receiving the approval of 47 percent of the respondents to claim solo third place” and that “this reflects a continuous improvement from his 5th to 6th place ranking with 41 percent conducted by the same survey firm (on) January 23-26, 2019 and coming from a 15th-16th ranking back in December 2018.”
The alleged January 23-26 “SWS survey” is also not on the SWS website.
The press release included two alleged “SWS” tables showing the rankings of senatorial bets in January and February, with Go ranked 5-6 in January and 3 in February after reelectionist Senators Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar.
MindaNews checked the website of the SWS for details on the survey results but found none. MindaNews e-mailed SWS President Mangahas to inquire about the survey results and he replied: “It is unethical for you to use anything that is not on our website…Do not gratify propagandists who cannot back up their claims. Ask whoever released it to justify the release; whoever publishes something is legally bound to conform to Comelec full-disclosure rules on election survey publication.”
Sought for comment on SWS President Mangahas’ statement, Go told MindaNews Thursday night: “Ask mo sino naglabas po” (Ask who released it). MindaNews replied it was his camp that released the survey results through a press release sent to reporters via e-mail and Viber group.
His response: “No comment na ako. Nagpasalamat nako” (No comment. I have said my thanks).
In the press release his camp issued, Go thanked his supporters. “Maraming salamat po sa dumarami nating kababayan na nagtitiwala sa aking kakayahan at intensyon na mag-serbisyo ng tapat at lubos” (Thank you very much for the increasing number of our fellow Filipinos who trust in my capabilities and intention to serve truly and fully), he was quoted as saying.
“False reportage about SWS surveys”
The SWS posted on its website at 10:38 p.m. on March 7 a “Public Reminder” that it “again reminds the public that false reportage about SWS surveys is very common in the period leading up to an election.“
“Everyone is enjoined to rely only on the SWS website (www.sws.org.ph) for its advisories, announcements, and survey reports released to the public,” it said.
It noted that many surveys on preferences for national and local positions are being conducted by various groups in the run-up to the May 13 elections, that some of these groups are legitimate, while others are not.
It also warned that there are surveys being conducted by interviewers “falsely presenting themselves from SWS.”
It said SWS interviewers while on fieldwork “wear a valid ID which clearly shows the logo and name Social Weather Stations, the interviewer name and signature, validity period of the ID, and name and signature of an SWS officer.”
It urged those who want to verify the authenticity of SWS interviewers to contact their office at 02-9264308; 02-9244456; 02-9244465 and to look for Ms Josefina Tayactac, or through mobile pone 09999913518, fax number 02-9202181 or email email@example.com.
The last SWS survey on senatorial preferences posted on its website was on October 12 last year on the Sept. 15-23 survey, the list of candidates sponsored by Mr. Alde Joselito Pagulayan, where Poe and Villar ranked 1st and 2nd and Go was 21st to 22nd. On October 11, the SWS also posted results of a survey during the same period, the list of candidates sponsored by Secretary Francis Tolentino, where Go ranked 16th.
Go’s ranking has improved considerably from a year ago. In the March 23-28, 2018 Pulse Asia Survey, Go ranked 28-38 while in its January 26-31, 2019 survey, Go ranked 6-12 with former Senator Jinggoy Estrada, with Poe and Villar still on number 1 and 2.
The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in its report last month on pre-election campaign advertisements from January 2018 to January 2019, said Go, whose declared net worth was 12.85 million pesos was “the biggest spender thus far among all 61 candidates for senator,” totaling 422.5 million pesos.
Election surveys, election offense
Guidelines on releasing election surveys are listed in Section 28 of Comelec Resolution 10488 promulgated on January 29, 2019.
The section states that during the election period, any person, whether natural or juridical, candidate or organization may conduct an election survey but if they publish the survey for public consumption, they must also publish the following information: name of person, candidate, party or organization that commissioned, paid for, or subscribed to the survey; name of the person, polling firm or survey organization who conducted the survey; period during which the survey was conducted, the methodology used, including the number of individual respondents and the areas from which they were selected, and the specific questions asked.
Also to be published, according to Section 28 paragraph D is the margin of error of the survey; for each question where the margin of error is greater than that reported under paragraph D, the margin of error for that question; and a mailing address and telephone number at which the sponsor can be contacted to obtain a written report regarding the survey.
Section 28 also provides that the survey together with the raw data gathered to support its conclusions shall be available for inspection, copying and verification by the Comelec and that “any violation of this section shall constitute an election offense.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)