TWO SURVEYS conducted in the University one after the other are said to indicate that Thomasians are as politically polarized as the rest of the nation and may go for a mixed vote on May 14, neither giving the administration nor the political opposition dominance in the Senate race.

A mock election held last March 16 and 17 showed Thomasian preference for six candidates from the Genuine Opposition (GO), four from the administration’s Team Unity, and two independents.

Rep. Francis Escudero of GO topped the survey with 73 per cent, closely followed by Joker Arroyo of TU with 72 per cent. Completing the Top 6 were independent reelectionists Sen. Manuel Villar, Jr. (67%) and Sen. Francis Pangilinan (66%), followed by two other reelectionists—Sen. Panfilo Lacson of GO (65%) and Sen. Ralph Recto of TU (60%).

In the last half were former senator Loren Legarda of GO (58%), former environment secretary Michael Defensor of TU (46%), Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of GO (44%), former senator Edgardo Angara of TU and Rep. Benigno Aquino III of GO (tied at 11th place with 43%), and Sonia Roco of GO (31%).

The survey, which was prepared by associate professor Emmanuel Lopez, social sciences department chair of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, had 1,265 respondents from the University’s 11 colleges with a 2.76 per cent margin of error.

The criteria for the survey were rather general: experience and platform, each with 40 per cent, and popularity, 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Varsitarian last April among student leaders roughly showed the same results, but applying toughened-up criteria based on the social teachings of the Church, recent statements and documents from the Vatican, and voter guidelines by Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

Non-academic employees feted

The criteria were outlined in the Discussion Paper on the 2007 Elections formulated by Varsitarian editors and alumni. (See related story, ‘Varsitarian Outlines Principles of Catholic Truth Vote’.)

Reelectionist Senator Arroyo emerged the top choice of UST student leaders as he got 86.11 per cent of the votes cast.

Others in the Top 14 were: Escudero (80.56%) and Pangilinan with (75%) Villar (66.67%), Legarda (55.56%), Recto (50%), Roco (47%) and Zubiri (44.44%), Lacson (42%), Angara and Cayetano (41.67%), Aquino and Defensor (38.69%), and Pimentel (33.33%).

Party-list groups that topped the survey were Kabataan (22.22 per cent) and Buhay (13.89 per cent).

But the exhaustive survey also showed what seem to be worrisome aspects of UST student leaders’ political awareness. (See related story, ‘Apathy Noted Among Young Voters,’ page 1.)

A big number, 22.22 per cent, gave “No Answer” to the question on party-list preference. Others who gave an answer opted for party-list groups that carry pro-population control, pro-contraceptive sex, and pro-divorce platforms.

More worrisome, 50 per cent of the respondents said they didn’t register in the election.

The mock election was considered a survey of “educated voters.”

Among the criteria were commitment to democracy and peace, advocacy for life and family values, personal and public integrity, concern for education, and economic program for the common good.

“Although the survey has relatively limited respondents, they have considerable influence in their own organizations and the Thomasian studentry,” said Varsitarian editor in chief Nicolo Bernardo.

“The criteria determines how well the candidates meet core Thomasian principles and expectations as viewed by their representatives.”

Season for trees

Respondents were given an option not to complete the line-up of candidates and to abstain from voting. The survey was spearheaded by Varsitarian publication adviser Joselito Zulueta, editor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and former Varsitarian editor in chief Felipe Salvosa, editor of the Business World. Hershey Homol and Jamaila S. Cahilig


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