MANILA (REUTERS) - The son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos strengthened his lead over his closest rival ahead of the presidential election in May, results of a new poll released on Sunday (Feb 13) showed.
Mr Ferdinand Marcos Jr garnered a 44-point lead over Philippine Vice-President Leni Robredo in the Jan 19-24 survey by independent pollster Pulse Asia, an 11-point increase compared with the previous poll in early December.
A total of 2,400 respondents were asked to pick their first choice for president and vice president if the election were held during the survey period, with 60 per cent expressing preference for Marcos, while 16 per cent chose Mrs Robredo.
In the December poll with the same sample size, Mr Marcos was on top with 53 per cent compared with Mrs Robredo's 20 per cent.
Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and Manila city Mayor Francisco Domagoso trailed, each getting 8 per cent, while Senator Panfilo Lacson took 4 per cent.
In the Philippines, the president and vice-president are elected separately.
Mr Marcos' running mate, Ms Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, remained the top choice for vice-president, taking a 21-point lead over her closest rival, Senate president Vicente Sotto.
The latest Pulse Asia survey was conducted before the Philippines' Commission on Elections last week dismissed a series of complaints seeking to disqualify Mr Marcos, removing a major hurdle for him in the May 9 contest.
The complaint's petitioners have vowed to challenge the decision and can appeal to the Supreme Court.
The election body also rejected a complaint seeking the cancellation of Mr Marcos' certificate of candidacy.
As the front runner, Mr Marcos appears poised to complete a remarkable rebranding of the family name 36 years after a "people power" uprising ended his father's autocratic rule.