ZAMBOANGA City — Independent presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Friday said she was surprised that she remained on top of the Pulse Asia survey despite left-handed attacks against her.

”I’m really surprised that I still have high rating despite the propaganda thrown against me by my opponents,” Poe said in a press conference before the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP)’s first political rally in Mindanao.

In the Pulse Asia survey conducted from Feb. 15 to 20 to 1,800 registered voters, Poe was statistically tied with Vice President Jejomar Binay with the lady senator enjoying slight edge with 26 percent, a four-percentage point drop from January survey.

Binay improved from Jan. 23 to 25 percent while Liberal Party candidate Mar Roxas and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte received similar score of 21 percent and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago still at the bottom with 3 percent.

”My heartfelt gratitude to our countrymen that instead of doubts and disbelief, they believed on our platforms of government,” Poe said.

With still 66 days left before the May 9 polls, Poe said it was important for them to visit more areas throughout the country and explain to them their platforms of government which focus on rural development particularly the agriculture sector.

”If you will notice, we have not really visited yet Mindanao and also Visayas. Ït’s a long way to go,” Poe said.

In a press statement, Poe’s spokesman Rex Gatchalian said “in the coming days, as more people hear Poe’s message, we believe that more will consolidate behind her candidacy.”

For his part, Poe’s running mate Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said he and Poe are always running scared, saying survey was just a guidelines for them on how they would work to reach out more voters.

”We’re always running scared,” Escudero replied when asked if he is not worried that Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos is now statistically tied with him on top of the vice presidential race.

Senator Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, maintains the lead in the senatorial race, owing it to his long experience as senator and as legislator who has never been absent and late in every session.

”As compared to other veteran senators, I think I have the longest stint beginning in 1992, others started in 1995,” Sotto, a reelectionist, said.

Aside from Sotto, other PGP’s senatorial candidates who made it in the Magic 12 of Pulse Asia survey include, reelectionist Senator Ralph Recto, former senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon and Valenzuela City congressman Sherwin Gatchalian.

”I believe that our senatorial candidates at the lower bracket can still catch up because when I ran in 2013, I was in No. 28,” Poe, who topped the 2013 election with 20 million votes, said.

Poe is facing disqualification case with the Supreme Court (SC) expecting to decide on her petition to overturn the Commission on Election (Comelec)’s ruling to cancel her candidacy next week.

The lady senator has expressed confidence that the high court will allow her to run for president.

Poe denied a newspaper report that he has two Social Security Numbers (SSN), saying the other supposed SSN was actually her student identification number at the Boston College.

”I have also requested Boston College for documents to prove that the 005-03-1988 was must student number,” Poe said. Jelly F. Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com