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Philippine bishop downplays Duterte poll lead

Surveys showing president, daughter topping candidate lists 'should not influence how people vote'

Philippine bishop downplays Duterte poll lead

Bishop Broderick Pabillo says voters should not be influenced by surveys. (Photo: Angie de Silva)

A bishop has downplayed recent surveys showing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara leading the pack among vice presidential and presidential candidates.

According to a Pulse Asia survey, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte was the most popular choice for president among 28 percent of respondents, followed by Manila mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno with 14 percent.

Vice President Leni Robredo registered a poor sixth with 6 percent, while boxing icon Manny Pacquiao ranked fifth.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo urged Catholics not to allow surveys to influence how they will vote in next year’s election.

“The election is near. News stories are beginning to spread like wildfire while politicians are beginning to position themselves. Surveys are now being conducted to gauge public sentiment. But let us not believe in these surveys,” Bishop Pabillo told churchgoers at a Mass on July 18.

Surveys are propaganda tools to influence voters not to vote for qualified and deserving candidates who don’t have the numbers, he said.

Many of our leaders today are not close to the Filipino people, especially during this pandemic

“They [surveys] just condition our thinking. Survey firms are paid by politicians and they use them as propaganda tools,” he added.

Instead of believing in surveys, Bishop Pabillo urged Catholics to allow their conscience to influence their votes in the 2022 elections.

The bishop, a strong opponent of extrajudicial killings, said that good shepherds are those who are with the people.

“Many of our leaders today are not close to the Filipino people, especially during this pandemic. They are quarantined in their palaces, not in touch with the people, not in touch with the realities of so many who do not even have decent houses,” the prelate added.

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“The influential and rich know from their political allies that people like them to run because they are topping the surveys that they themselves had paid for,” Bishop Pabillo said.

He said an intention to serve must be the basis on how people vote, not social media and surveys.

Opposition lawmaker Senator Antonio Trillanes also said surveys are mind-conditioning tools that distort the authenticity of the electoral process.

“They should not be dictating our votes. Rather, we should be the ones proving the numbers are wrong,” Trillanes told reporters on July 19.

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