Gordon sues SWS, Pulse Asia over surveys

Posted at 04/22/10 2:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate Richard Gordon on Thursday asked a local court to stop research groups Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) from further releasing results of pre-election surveys to the public.

Gordon's lawyer, Christian Diaz, filed the case before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Thursday morning.

"What we filed is a complaint for damages with TRO (temporary restraining order) and preliminary injunction, basically asking the court to enjoin SWS and Pulse Asia from conducting further surveys and publishing them to the public, especially if they are using false methodologies," Garcia told ANC.

Gordon told ANC's Dateline Philippines that the 2 survey companies are "stealing the people's minds" and preventing voters from carefully choosing their preferred candidates, particularly those running for president.

The senator has been lagging in the surveys since last year.

Latest Pulse Asia and SWS surveys released early this month showed Gordon remains way behind other presidential candidates with only 2% voter preference.

"People don't want to open their eyes, apparently because they have been influenced by the overwhelming mental conditioning of these survey companies," Gordon said.

He said that he filed a case against the 2 survey firms to expose to the public their survey methodologies.

He added that he wants the court to ask the 2 companies to reveal who are paying for the pre-election surveys and how much money they are making out of it.

SC has ruled against similar petition

Professor Ronnie Holmes, president of Pulse Asia, meanwhile, was confident that case would be dismissed by the lower court because of a previous Supreme Court (SC) ruling.

Holmes said that a similar petition had been filed before the SC against the SWS and the high court "upheld the right to information."

He added that the high court has also "prohibited" the filing of similar cases against the SWS.

"In our own country, we're confident with regard with the most recent decision of the Supreme Court that it would uphold the right to information," he said.

Holmes admitted that pre-election surveys influence a voter's preference, but insisted that its effects are just the same as other sources of information that voters use to choose their candidates.

He denied that the Pulse Asia has kept its survey methodology secret from the public. He added that survey firms do not insinuate that their surveys are the absolute reality, since they have repeatedly indicated in their releases that the surveys may have "sampling errors."

"Sampling error would be sufficient to say that there are occasions wherein the figures may actually be wacky, and our methods are open for any inspections of any experts," Holmes said.

Meanwhile, he said that the Pulse Asia would seriously look into Gordon's case and study on how they could legally react to it.