STILL OPTIMISTIC. Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo 'Ping' Lacson, together with his running mate and his senatorial slate, answers questions during a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City Thursday (May 5, 2022). Lacson and running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III say lagging behind their rivals in surveys did not dampen their confidence in a victory in the May 9 elections. (Screenshot from Ping Lacson Facebook Page)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — Presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said trailing behind survey results in the Visayas and Mindanao was a "blessing in disguise."

In a press conference here Thursday afternoon, Lacson was asked about getting zero in the two major regions in Pulse Asia Research's latest voter preference survey covering April 16-21.

“We have support groups here in Cagayan de Oro and elsewhere, Visayas and Mindanao, so they are prompted to do more and to work harder,” Lacson said.

According to Pulse Asia, Lacson garnered a 2 percent nationwide voter preference. The presidential aspirant, however, scored virtually zero in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Lacson ranks fifth in the Pulse Asia survey behind Manila Mayor Isko Moreno (4th) with 4 percent, Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao (3rd) with 7 percent, and Vice President Leni Robredo (2nd) with 23 percent.

Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. remains at the top with 56 percent.

Lacson said he "did not feel the zero voter preference" based on the reception and the support he was getting during his visits to various parts of Mindanao and the Visayas.

“We were in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao earlier, and we were around Mindanao sometime in the past—in Cotabato, in Davao (region). We had visited many places and I didn't feel the 'zero' percent voter preference the surveys were saying," the senator said.

Lacson's running mate, vice presidential aspirant and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, urged the public to vote for candidates who have a reliable track record in helping people in times of disaster.

“Instead of believing the surveys, think of those candidates who have done for you when you were in danger, like the Covid-19, and what it's worth, who are not hiding,” Sotto said.

In the same Pulse Asia survey, Sotto ranked second in the vice presidential race with 18 percent behind Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, the running mate of Marcos, who remains at the top spot with 55 percent. (PNA)