FORMER President Joseph Estrada said it is his sincerity that played a great part on why he was able to pull his survey ratings up by six percent in just a matter of three weeks.

Estrada said it doesn’t matter if his opponents flood the airwaves with commercials and ads touting their accomplishments, adding that the public are much more discerning today.

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"It’s my sincerity. No matter how many ads you put on television or how many actors and actresses support you, if you are not really sincere with your motives, the people will see through you," Estrada said.

“You cannot fool the people. The people are hungry and they are even more hungry for the truth," he added.

He said while other candidates are offering promises, he and his running mate, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, has a track record of public service starting as local chief executives of San Juan and Makati.

The former president stressed the result of the latest survey will only encourage him to work doubly hard in the campaign circuit and continue reaching out to the people, especially the poor who constitute the bulk of their supporters.

Based on the Pulse Asia survey conducted from February 21 to 25, Estrada, standard bearer of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino-United Opposition (PMP-UNO), improved his showing by six percentage points, posting a rating of 18 percent from January’s 12 percent.

The survey was topped by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, standard bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) with 36 percent while Senator Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP) came in second with 29 percent, a six percentage points decline from his previous ratings.

Estrada said their campaign is also highlighting the fact that only their camp is the true opposition camp adding that both the LP and the NP have played a part in his ouster from Malacanang in 2001.

"The Aquinos played a great role in the unconstitutional ouster dubbed as Edsa Dos and Senator Villar was responsible for railroading the impeachment trial. They are the ones responsible for putting this present administration in power so they cannot claim that they are truly members of the opposition. They are only members of the opposition when convenient," Estrada said.

Earlier, Estrada’s spokesman, former Ambassador Ernesto Maceda said they are working hard to reclaim the "masa" votes as he conceded that their rivals may have poached some of their supporters.

Maceda said they have already conceded the Class A, B and upper C segment of society to the other candidates adding that they would rather concentrate their resources and focus to the lower Class C and D.

“On our part, we have conceded the A, B and upper C votes and concentrate on the lower C and D voters. The upper classes have set standards biased against us,” he further explained.

Maceda likewise said they internalized the lessons of the previous presidential election and are much better prepared for the upcoming elections.

For one thing, he said they would double the number of watchers to ensure that votes cast for Estrada and Binay and the rest of the party’s candidates would be counted.

“For every polling precinct, we will have at least two poll watchers and even four depending on the resources,” Maceda said.

Another is to tap grassroots organization to help deliver the party’s message to the voters, he added.

Maceda said they have formulated what it calls the “sympathy strategy" to draw more people into voting for Estrada.

“We’re counting on the sympathy votes, because people know he (Estrada) was jailed for six years but for the wrong reasons," Maceda said.

Estrada was convicted of plunder by the Sandiganbayan in 2007 but was pardoned by Arroyo. (AH/Sunnex)