By Paolo Romero  —  If they’re not ahead, the survey results can’t be true.

Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr. claimed yesterday that even the administration is not convinced of the favorable results of surveys and is in panic over the people’s strong support for him.

"Yun nga ang pinagtatakahan ko eh. Lamang na sila sa surveys, nagtataka ako kung bakit sila nagpa-panic (I’m just wondering why they are still panicking when they are leading in the surveys)," Poe said. "May alam ba sila na hindi ko alam (Do they know something that I don’t)?"

Poe’s running mate, Sen. Loren Legarda, said the SWS survey appeared to have been "doctored" and "ballpened."

She said based on surveys conducted by local officials, even from those identified with administration, she and Poe are leading by a wide margin.

"This (SWS survey) was commissioned by Malacañang while ours (surveys by local officials) is more accurate and we are leading by a wide margin," Legarda said.

She cited that when she ran for the first time in the 1998 senatorial elections, the surveys ranked her eighth but she ended up the topnotcher in the polls.

In an interview with a KNP supporter here, Poe also said he does not believe the votes intended for Alyansa ng Pag-asa standard-bearer Raul Roco would be transferred to Mrs. Arroyo after Roco’s campaign bogged down due to health reasons.

Poe also described the unfavorable ratings he has been receiving in the surveys as government "propaganda" and "gimmicks" but he said his confidence remains unshaken because "once I declared (my candidacy), I’m focused."

He also noted some discrepancies in results of the latest survey of the SWS, which showed that Poe was leading the race and not President Arroyo.

Poe, however, could not say in what way the administration Koalisyon ng Katapatan at Karanasan para sa Kinabukasan (K-4) was "panicking" over his apparently strong mass-based support.

On reports that K-4 senatorial candidate Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s visit to deposed President Joseph Estrada at his detention place at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal was meant to wrangle an election-related deal, Poe said that the administration cannot just sway the former president with offers of house arrest.

He said Estrada, his bosom friend, is campaigning for him, which is strongly boosting his candidacy.

"They can use anybody but I’m going back to (my statement) that they are leading in the surveys yet they’re still panicking," Poe said, stressing that no matter what the surveys show, the KNP will continue its campaign.

In separate interviews, Sen. Vicente Sotto, Poe’s personal campaign manager, and Legarda said the latest surveys favoring the administration are "very questionable" since they were earlier informed that SWS and Pulse Asia have been "infiltrated."

"There is polluted data from below," Sotto said, adding the manipulation of figures sometimes become obvious.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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