MANILA (Reuters) – The son and namesake of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos strengthened his lead over his closest rival ahead of the presidential election in May, results of a new poll released on Sunday showed.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr garnered a 44-point lead over Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo in the Jan. 19-24 survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia, an 11-point increase compared with the previous poll in early December.
A total of 2,400 respondents were asked to pick their first choice for president and vice president if the election were held during the survey period, with 60% expressing preference for Marcos, while 16% chose Robredo.
In the December poll with the same sample size, Marcos was on top with 53% compared to Robredo’s 20%.
Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and Manila city mayor Francisco Domagoso trailed, each getting 8%, while Senator Panfilo Lacson took 4%.
In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected separately.
Marcos’ running mate, Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, remained the top choice for vice president, taking a 21-point lead over her closest rival, Senate President Vicente Sotto.
The latest Pulse Asia survey was conducted before the Philippines’ Commission on Elections last week dismissed a series of complaints seeking to disqualify Marcos, removing a major hurdle for him in the May 9 contest.
The complaint’s petitioners have vowed to challenge the decision and can appeal to the Supreme Court.
The election body also rejected a complaint seeking the cancellation of Marcos’ certificate of candidacy.
As frontrunner, Marcos appears poised to complete a remarkable rebranding of the family name 36 years after a “people power” uprising ended his father’s autocratic rule.
(Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Editing by Edmund Klamann)