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Aquino approval rating dips in new poll
Publication Date : 14-01-2014
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s performance rating dropped 6 percentage points in the Pulse Asia survey last month, amid widespread criticisms over his administration’s purportedly slow and inefficient response in the aftermath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”.
But Malacanang opted to look at the bright side, saying that “3 out of every 4 Filipinos” remained behind the President, based on the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
“In the aftermath of a series of calamities and the tremendous challenges arising from these, the President continues to enjoy the support of about three out of every four Filipinos,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said in a statement.
The President’s performance rating stood at 73 per cent, down from 79 per cent in September. His trust rating declined to 74 per cent from 76 per cent.
In the same survey, Vice President Binay had an 80-per-cent performance rating and a 77-per-cent trust rating.
Senate President Franklin Drilon had a performance rating of 43 per cent and a trust rating of 40 per cent, while Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. posted 43 per cent and 38 per cent in performance and trust ratings, respectively.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno got a performance rating of 44 per cent and a trust rating of 41 per cent.
Month after Yolanda
The survey was conducted last December 8 to 15, a month after the monster typhoon battered Leyte, Samar, other parts of the Visayas and northern Palawan.
The typhoon attracted huge international aid for victims as well as overflowing criticisms that questioned the government’s preparedness in handling a calamity of this magnitude.
Aquino himself came under fire for claiming in a CNN interview that death toll was closer to “2,500” than the 10,000 estimate made by a police official, who was later sacked.
“Ten thousand, I think, is too much,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview last November.
“There was emotional trauma involved with that particular estimate quoting both a police official and a local government official. They were too close to the incident. They didn’t have basis for it,” the President said.
As of early this month, the death toll stood at more than 6,100 with more than a thousand people still missing.
The government was also heavily criticised over some 1,400 bodies that remained unburied near Tacloban City, nearly two months after the typhoon.
The corpses were supposed to have been identified and given proper burial as of Monday last week.
Vice President Jejomar Binay thanked the Filipinos for his high performance score, saying it inspired him to work hard.
“I am grateful for the people’s sustained trust and appreciation for our work for the past three years. As we start the year, the result of the recent Pulse Asia survey is definitely a source of inspiration. Rest assured that we will continue to work hard to improve the lives of our people and provide them the service they deserve,” Binay said in a statement.
The Vice President chairs the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and is a regarded as the country’s “housing czar.” He is also the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers.
Among the key government institutions, only the Supreme Court scored a majority approval rating of 52 per cent, while the Senate and the House of Representatives earned approval ratings of 45 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.
None of the key government institutions posted a majority trust rating, with the Supreme Court scoring 46 per cent; the Senate, 42 per cent; and the House, 39 per cent.
“The movements in the approval rating of President Aquino (minus-6 percentage points), the approval and indecision figures of House Speaker Belmonte (plus-6 and minus-6 percentage points), and the trust rating of Senate President Drilon (minus-6 percentage points) fall short of being considered significant in light of the survey’s overall error margin of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points,” Pulse Asia said in a statement released Monday.
However, Pulse Asia noted that the movement in Drilon’s approval, disapproval and distrust ratings were significant.
“At the national level, the only significant changes taking place during the period September to December 2013 are the decline in the approval score of Senate President Drilon (minus-7 percentage points), and the increase in his disapproval and distrust ratings (plus-8 and plus-7 points, respectively),” Pulse Asia said.
Drilon’s approval score slid from 50 per cent to 43 per cent, as his disapproval score rose from 13 per cent to 21 per cent. The Senate President’s distrust ratings also rose from 14 per cent to 21 per cent.
Pork barrel scam
Drilon blamed the pork barrel scandal for the dip in his trust and approval ratings, but he vowed to work harder to regain public trust.
Some senators were implicated in the 10-billion-peso (US$224 million) pork barrel scandal that roiled Congress and the bureaucracy in the second half of 2013.
Three of them—Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Juan Ponce Enrile and Ramon Revilla Jr.—are facing a plunder complaint over the scam in the Office of the Ombudsman.
Others were not spared because of their association with Janet Lim-Napoles, who allegedly orchestrated the conversion of 10-billion-peso pork barrel into kickbacks over 10 years beginning with the Arroyo administration.
“We realise and accept that the controversies that hounded Congress last year cost us the trust and approval of our people,” Drilon said in a statement.
He said the survey only challenged him to “improve our performance.”
“We have just entered a new year, but I am confident to say that with the reforms we have been undertaking and with the number of important pieces of legislation that the Senate will be working on this year, we will leave year 2014 with the trust and confidence of our people in the institution successfully restored,” he said.
In the face of public outrage over the misuse of public funds, Drilon and 14 other senators last year had their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocations deleted from the 2014 national budget.
The Supreme Court struck down late last year the PDAF as unconstitutional in the wake of the public outrage over the pork barrel scam.
Before adjourning for the holidays, Drilon vowed to lead the passage of key pieces of legislation this year, including the proposed Freedom of Information Act.
“We at the Senate are even more inspired and invigorated to heed the people’s call for genuine and lasting reforms and in passing legislation that will better serve the interests of the Filipino people, sustain economic growth, enhance government transparency and eliminate corruption,” he said.—With reports from Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research; Jerome C. Aning and TJ A. Burgonio