New Philippine senator widens lead in presidential opinion polls

September 21, 2015 12:04
Grace Poe waves to supporters as she announced her candidacy last week. Photo: AFP

A novice senator has increased her lead as the favorite to win next year's Philippine presidential elections, an opinion poll showed Monday.

Grace Poe, 47, the adopted daughter of late action movie star Fernando Poe Jr., formally declared her candidacy last week for the elections in May 2016.

She was the top-rated candidate among 47 percent of respondents, up five points, Reuters reported, citing the latest Social Weather Stations poll.

The elections will be closely watched by investors, who fear the political succession in one of Asia's fastest-growing economies could derail gains made during President Benigno Aquino's rule.

Under Aquino, the Philippine economy has grown more than 6 percent a year on average, its best five-year record in four decades.

The president has also battled to rein in corruption, which plagues the country.

The third-quarter poll, published by the Businessworld newspaper, showed that Manuel Roxas, a former interior minister under Aquino, jumped 18 points into second place, with 39 percent approval.

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