LIBERAL Party standard bearer Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III continues to lead the presidential survey.

In recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia from February 21 to 25, Aquino topped the survey despite dropping by one-percentage point from 37 percent to 36 percent.

He was followed by Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. whose rating also dropped by six-percentage points from 35 percent in January to 29 percent in February.

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The rating of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada of Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) improved by six-percentage points from 12 percent to 18 percent.

Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr.'s standing in surveys also improved by two-percentage points from five percent in January to seven percent in February.

Senator Richard Gordon's rating remain unchanged at one percent while Senator Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal's rating dropped by 0.2-percentage points from 0.5 percent in January to 0.3 percent in February.

In a statement circulated to media, the camp of Villar said they “welcome” the results despite showing the senator trailing Aquino.

“We welcome the latest Pulse Asia results and we vow to work harder next time. It’s still two months away before elections. Our seven-point deficit is recoverable compared to the 24 percentage points lost by the closest rival,” NP senatorial candidate and spokesman Gilbert Remulla said in a statement.

Remulla said Aquino is actually losing ground because he will “never be able to recover his previous high rating of 50 percent to 60 percent.”

Aquino previously enjoyed a wide margin over his rivals when he announced his candidacy last September 9 but the figures went down, highlighted by a statistical tie last month.

In the February 3 survey of Pulse, Aquino locked in a statistical tie with Villar. Aquino got 37 percent and Villar, 35 percent, as the first choice of respondents.

Meanwhile, televangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva said his latest rating at two percent is “quite improbable.”

His party Bangon Pilipinas said Villanueva’s rating was already at two percent before the official start of the campaign but the group said Villanueva gathered crowd support especially during sorties.

“After visiting key cities and provinces, even Hong Kong where Bangon Pilipinas gathered the biggest crowd for a political rally at Chater Road in February, the Party just cannot simply believe that ratings would still remain at two percent,” Bangon Pilipinas said.

“Bangon Pilipinas' stand on surveys therefore remains the same: While surveys can be helpful references in determining the public pulse, surveys also can be internally influenced. Hence paid and commissioned surveys during the election season do not necessarily help in giving our public informed and wise decisions,” it added.

The group cited the experience of former President Fidel Ramos and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who won despite lagging consistently in surveys.

“The only way to really find out the people’s truthful pulse is by the result of a credible election, not by the results of commissioned surveys,” the group said.

The Pulse survey likewise showed Aquino's running mate Senator Manuel Roxas II leading the vice presidential race with 43 percent, which is four-percentage points lower than January's 47 percent; followed by Senator Loren Legarda with 27 percent from 28 percent in January, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay with 15 percent from 13 percent in January, and former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Bayani Fernando with four percent from two percent in January.

Lakas-Kampi vice presidential bet Edu Manzano's rating remained unchanged with two percent along with former secretary Perfecto Yasay with one percent.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Charito Planas said despite the low ratings of the administration bets, she would continue to focus on her governance work and leave the campaign to the party and its candidates confident that they would be able to do a good job on their own.

Manzano, meanwhile in an interview by Unang Hirit, denied that he is withdrawing from the vice presidential race due to funding problem.

He said he recently went abroad and was not present when the report came out.

Her, however, said what he is asking for is continued support and recognition from the party assuring that he would continue the fight alongside Teodoro until the end.

Teodoro, in the same event, likewise denied that he was offered a bribe or asked by anyone to withdraw from the race. (JMR/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)