Grace Poe races to top spot in opinion polls ahead of May election

Rodrigo Duterte and Jejomar Binay are statistically tied for second place with 24 percent and 23 percent voter preference.

Philippine senator Grace Poe raced back to lead opinion polls in the upcoming presidential elections.

According to the latest Pulse Asia poll, she regained her front-runner status with 28 percent of the voters favouring her to become the next president.

Poe is tied in a four-way race for presidency with Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II offering stiff competition to the senator.

Duterte and Binay were statistically tied for second place with 24 percent and 23 percent voter preference.

Roxas lost one percent to record a preferential rating of 19 percent.

"Nearly 3 in 10 Filipino registered voters (28%) would elect Senator Grace Poe as the country's next president if the May 2016 elections took place during the survey period," Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said.

The ABS-CBN-commissioned survey was conducted from March 15 to 20, Rappler said.

Reform plank

The survey also revealed that Poe remained the preferred second choice for voters in case their primary candidate falls out of the race.

Poe, who campaigns on a pro-reform plank, faced early challenges after the election commission declared her ineligible to run for the presidency.

However, the Supreme Court annulled an earlier order by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that cancelled her certificate of candidacy saying she didn't fulfill mandatory 10-year residency requirement.

Poe has said she will relax restrictions on foreign ownership of local media and utility companies if she came to power.