Duterte's daughter stays top in poll on Philippine presidential candidates

A banner showing support for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in Manila on April 9.
A banner showing support for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in Manila on April 9. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (REUTERS) - The daughter of Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte has topped the latest opinion poll on preferred presidential candidates for an election next year, a contest she insists she has no interest in joining.

The survey by the independent Pulse Asia, conducted between Feb 22 and March 3, showed 27 per cent of 2,400 respondents would vote for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio above 13 other suggested candidates.

It was the second consecutive time the 42-year-old has topped Pulse Asia's survey on potential leaders.

She recently told Reuters there was no chance she would run next year. Her father has also stated publicly that she should not enter the race.

But few in the Philippines are convinced amid a flurry of social media activity and unofficial campaigns backing her to succeed her father, who cannot seek re-election under the country's Constitution.

Mr Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the country's late dictator, was in second place in the poll, with 13 per cent of the vote.

Senator Grace Poe, who ran against Mr Duterte in the 2016 election, and Manila City Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, were both third with 12 per cent, and global boxing icon and Senator Manny Pacquiao trailed them with 11 per cent.

Vice-President Leni Robredo, a former human rights lawyer who leads the main opposition and is a staunch rival of Mr Duterte, trailed that group, with 7 per cent.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 per cent. None of the 13 suggested candidates have formally declared their interest in the presidency.

The election is more than a year away, and political analysts have said that a great deal could change prior to the May 9 polls.