MANILA, April 14, 2004
The race for the Senate would be evenly split between the administration Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan sa Kinabukasan (K-4) and the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) if the elections were held today, according to an uncommissioned voter opinion poll.

Former trade secretary Manuel Roxas II topped the survey conducted by respected pollster Pulse Asia Inc. from March 27 to April 4.

Of the 4,800 registered voters polled nationwide, 40.1 percent said they would vote for Roxas, followed by former Videogram Regulatory Board chief Ramon Revilla Jr. with 39.1 percent, both of them with K-4.

In third is former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim with 33.3 percent, followed by former senator Juan Ponce Enrile with 32.5 percent. Both are with KNP.

Completing the top six are former senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (K-4) with 30.5 percent and reelectionist Sen. Aquilino Pimentel (KNP) with 29.7 percent.

Former senator Ernesto Maceda (KNP) is in seventh spot with 29.4, slightly ahead of re-electionist Sen. John Osmeña (K-4), 29 percent.

Former San Juan mayor Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada (KNP), a son of deposed President Joseph Estrada, got 28.1 percent. In 10th place is Pampanga Gov. Lito Lapid (K-4) with 27.5 percent, closely followed by Jamby Madrigal (KNP) with 27.1 percent.

Rounding up the so-called "Magic 12" candidates is former tourism secretary Richard Gordon (K-4), who got 26.9 percent. Filipinos will elect 12 senators to the 24-member legislature.

Just outside the Magic 12 are re-electionist Sen. Rodolfo Biazon (25.4 percent), re-electionist Sen. Robert Barbers (25.1 percent), former senator Orlando Mercado (24.4 percent), lawyer Pia Cayetano (22.7 percent), former senator Francisco Tatad (22.5 percent) and re-electionist Sen. Robert Jaworski (21 percent).

Tatad is with the KNP while the rest are K-4 candidates. Biazon and Barbers are "still within reach of a Senate seat," Pulse Asia said.

As for the others, "no senatorial candidate of the other parties obtained enough support among the respondents to place them within reach of a Senate seat," the polling firm said.

Madrigal posted a "notable improvement" in the latest survey. She placed 18th in Pulse Asia’s February opinion poll.

Enrile, Maceda and Roxas likewise made significant improvements.

On the other hand, Mercado, former congressman Ernesto Herrera (KNP), Jaworski and Tatad "who were within winning range in February, did not receive enough support among the respondents in this survey to put them within range of the Magic 12."

The survey has an error margin of plus or minus 1.4 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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