THE latest pre-election survey from Publicus Asia Inc., which according to its website is the “first and only SEC-registered lobbying and campaigns firm catering political, corporate, or advocacy projects,” shows that the tandem of presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos Jr. and vice-presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio continue to maintain their leads over their rivals with just over a month to go before the elections on May 9.

           Out of 1,500 registered voters surveyed by Publicus Asia Inc. between March 9 to 14 Marcos was still the preferred candidate of 55.1 percent of the respondents, which according to the pollster is an increase of 2.8 percent from their previous survey done in February.

On the other hand, his closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo got 21 percent of the respondents; followed by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno with 8.2 percent; Senator Panfilo Lacson at 4.2 percent; Senator Manny Pacquiao with 1.8 percent; labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman at 0.7 percent; former Palace spokesman Ernesto “Ernie” Abella at 0.5 percent; and former Defense chief Norberto Gonzales at 0.3 percent.

           This now is the painful reality being faced by all other presidential candidates going up against presidential frontrunner Marcos which is the fact that despite all of their efforts to try and convince the majority of voters of their foolishness in opting to choose a president that is allegedly a coward, uneducated, a drug addict, a liar, and a thief, not much of their effort has resulted in a sudden turnaround in the apparent winnability of Bongbong as the next president of the country.

           There is something to be said about the dominance of Bongbong in the pre-election surveys being conducted almost every month starting last year.

           It is as if the voters finally realized that for much of the past three decades after the Marcoses were deprived of power and influence, nothing earthshaking has happened to the country, whether it be a bullish and strong economy, technological advances by leaps and bounds, an armed forces capable of defending the territorial integrity of the archipelago, an insurgency that has been quelled to almost nothing, and a government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people. It is as if the majority of these voters have awakened to the sad fact that succeeding administrations after the Marcos regime was simply going along with the tide while preserving their own vested interests. With the exception perhaps of the Duterte administration which adopted some radical measures in their governance of the country, all other previous administrations after the Marcoses left Malacanang were never really into the game of governing the country for the benefit of the people.

           This may have been what the respondents to the survey discerned when they were asked who they would vote for as the next president of the nation. If this is the case then the high rating that Bongbong Marcos is getting month after month is simply an expression of protest and disgust at the way things are being run in government. Not the personalities involved in the previous administrations, but rather the system of governance itself which has not amounted to anything substantial for the past 30 years.

           Perhaps it is the majority of the voters’ way of saying that they need another shock to the system, in the same way, that President Duterte ran roughshod over the sensibilities and emotions of so many in society when he came into power, so that Bongbong as their next president, even if all the accusations against him were somehow true, becomes their best choice from among all the other candidates simply because, for one, he has gone against all the accepted norms of campaigning as a politician and two, he continues to remain silent and mum over various issues that involve his family and his name. This is actually what terrifies his rivals since they continually fail to lure Bongbong to play their game and instead, with their crude negative campaigning against him, they have managed to help him win the hearts and minds of the voters who apparently have a penchant for rooting for the underdog.

           The big question right now in the minds of Bongbong’s rivals to the presidency is whether they can still somehow overturn his dominant lead in the surveys with less than two months before election time. One foolish suggestion that came out is to convince all the other presidential candidates in the opposition to withdraw their candidacies and instead just support Vice President Robredo against Bongbong. This is wishful thinking, at best considering that no one among those with a rating below that of Robredo is inclined to withdraw since they also believe that they all have a chance and possibility of becoming the next president, their survey ratings notwithstanding.

           So if in the elections Bongbong wins the presidency, then his rivals would have no one to blame except all the past administrations, with the exception of the Duterte administration, who have failed to introduce innovations to the system of governance in the country.