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Philippine election poll shows opposition keeping Senate, House uncertain

Philippine election poll shows opposition keeping Senate, House uncertain

The opposition looks set to retain control of the Philippine Senate in elections this month, poll results showed Wednesday, but the president's allies will likely keep the lower house, making another impeachment attempt against her difficult.
The survey by the independent pollster Pulse Asia gave seven opposition, five administration and two independent candidates the best chances of sweeping half of 24 Senate seats contested in the May 14 elections.
But in the House of Representatives, where all 265 seats are up for grabs, the opposition is unlikely to unseat the pro-administration majority, opposition spokesman Adel Tamano acknowledged in comments to reporters earlier this week.
He said only half of 144 opposition candidates for the House had a strong chance of winning.
The possibility of the status quo means that any attempt to impeach President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the House, which would require support from at least a third of the chamber, might not succeed.
The future makeup of Congress could determine whether Arroyo, who has faced down two coup plots, will be able to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in 2010.
Two opposition attempts to impeach Arroyo _ on allegations of vote-rigging in the 2004 election, and on corruption allegations _ have failed, because her House allies blocked the complaints on a technicality.
To impeach the president requires support from at least 78 House members of the current Congress. In 2005, the opposition could muster only 51 votes. If approved by the House, an impeachment trial is conducted by the Senate.
Arroyo's predecessor, deposed President Joseph Estrada, was accused of massive corruption and tried by the Senate in 2000.
When pro-Estrada senators refused to hear evidence against him, he was toppled in massive military-backed street protests a year later.
According to a face-to-face survey of 1,800 respondents conducted by Pulse Asia last week, Loren Legarda, a former broadcaster and senator, topped the list of four opposition candidates for the Senate. An independent and an administration senator came in fifth.
The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
An opposition campaign strategist, Horacio Morales, was quoted as saying that the opposition weakness in the House race was due to poor representation in some regions, including the southern island of Mindanao, a hotbed of Muslim insurgency.


Updated : 2021-06-15 22:08 GMT+08:00