With the next presidential elections four years away, results of a survey showed that Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of former president Rodrigo Duterte who won the 2022 vice-presidential elections by a landslide, is the top pick of Filipinos to be the next president.

Duterte-Carpio, who also serves as education secretary, garnered 42-percent support in Oculum Research and Analytics’ 2024 first-quarter opinion poll, ranking first among eight potential candidates for the next presidential elections.

Her rating was more than double that of Sen. Raffy Tulfo, who received 17 percent, the second highest in the survey.

“This percentage indicates a substantial lead over other candidates and suggests a strong support base,” Oculum chief statistician Joseph Mercado said.

Other politicians preferred by respondents to be the next Philippine president included former vice president Leni Robredo (10 percent), former Manila mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso (4 percent), Sen. Imee Marcos (4 percent), boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao (4 percent), Sen. Robin Padilla (2 percent), and House Speaker Martin Romualdez (0.4 percent).

Fourteen percent of the respondents expressed being undecided.

For the 2025 senatorial race, the Duterte patriarch, former Senate president Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo are the leading candidates with 33 percent each. 

Pinoys trust US over China in WPS dispute

In a separate Oculum survey, 43 percent of Filipinos said the country should align itself with the US amid the ongoing dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Only 3 percent of the 3,000 respondents preferred the Philippines aligning with China, which has faced criticism over its threats and intimidation tactics in claiming territory in the WPS.

China received the lowest level of trust among Filipino respondents at 17 percent and the highest level of distrust at 38 percent.

In contrast, the US garnered the highest trust rating at 75 percent and the lowest distrust value at 2 percent.

“The low level of trust in China and a relatively high level of distrust could be attributed to geopolitical tensions, economic competition, territorial disputes, or concerns over political and human rights issues,” Oculum’s report read.

Oculum also noted that Filipinos’ high level of trust in the US was “possibly a reflection of its global influence and perception as a key ally of the Philippines.”

Washington in March reiterated its “ironclad defense commitment” to protecting the Philippines should China launch an armed attack against Filipino coast guards stationed at the WPS. 

Tensions in the contested waters have remained high following several incidents where Chinese coast guard and militia ships initiated attacks and blockades against Philippine resupply ships.

Assoc. Prof. Dennis Coronacion, Oculum’s chief political analyst and UST political science department chair, pointed out that Filipinos do not necessarily see the WPS dispute as an issue directly linked to elections, as reflected in Duterte-Carpio’s topping of the preference survey despite her silence on the WPS issue.

“Filipinos feel strongly about the West Philippine Sea issue, particularly it has something to do with national sovereignty. Pero as an election issue, hindi siya gano’n kalakas,” Coronacion said.

“The voters think that there are other issues out there that need to be addressed by the candidates, most of which are economic issues and corruption issues.”

Randomly selected respondents aged 18 and above across the Philippines were interviewed from February 21 to 29 for Oculum’s first-quarter national survey. 

Oculum Research and Analytics is a polling and research organization conducting quarterly public opinion polls covering sociopolitical issues, trust in institutions, job satisfaction of top public officials, and voter preferences.

Oculum has UST journalism faculty members Asst. Prof Felipe Salvosa II and Manny Mogato as members of its oversight board. Mabel Anne B. Cardinez with reports from Jana Francesca D. Yao


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