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Duterte’s approval, trust ratings fall in Pulse Asia’s September poll

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Rodrigo R. Duterte
President Rodrigo R. Duterte — AFP

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s trust and approval ratings fell considerably in a September poll by Pulse Asia released on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo and her allies in the opposition Liberal Party (LP) presented an initial roster of senatorial candidates for next year’s midterm elections. Ms. Robredo also expressed confidence in the LP’s election chances, amid the party’s poor showing in the last three senatorial polls so far conducted by Pulse Asia.

DUTERTE’S DECLINE
“The overall approval and trust ratings of President Rodrigo R. Duterte declined between June and September 2018,” the polling group said in its latest Ulat ng Bayan survey on the country’s top officials and their institutions. Mr. Duterte’s approval rating dropped 13 points to 75% (from 88% last June) and his trust rating dropped 15 points to 72% (from 87% last June).

The survey identified several “national and international developments” around the time it was conducted Sept. 1 to 7. Topping the list of those issues is Proclamation No. 572 voiding the 2011 amnesty for opposition Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, and economic developments including the 6.4% inflation last August completed that list.

For her part, Ms. Robredo had a one-point dip in her approval rating of 61% in September, while her trust rating was unchanged from June at 56%.

In their initial ratings in this year’s Pulse Asia polls, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto II registered a 73% approval and 66% trust; Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio, 42% approval and 33% trust; and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 19% trust.

Sought for comment in his press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said of Mr. Duterte’s ratings: “Well, I believe that’s still a very good approval rating, certainly higher than mine. But anyway, and — certainly still the highest of all the officials surveyed by Pulse Asia.”

In a statement, Ms. Arroyo’s office said in part: “After years of attacks and political persecution, the public (trust) rating of former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is on an upswing with the level of distrust diminishing.”

‘While Speaker Arroyo has always been dispassionate about surveys, she takes them as a snap chat of people’s sentiment. When she was president, she would not let surveys define her work.”

“As Speaker, however, she remains focused and committed to what needs to done at the House of Representatives to carry out the legislative agenda of President Duterte.”

Also sought for comment, Ms. Robredo said of her latest poll figures: “Iyong (The) margin of error, if I’m not mistaken, is ±2.5? So halos static siya (So it’s almost static).”

She added: “Iyong sa atin naman, mas tinitignan natin kung ano ba iyong mga issue surrounding (We’re looking at the issues surrounding [the survey]). Hindi naman tayo kandidato, so hindi naman… iba iyong tinitignan natin ngayon (I’m not a candidate,…so I’m looking at things differently).”

LP’S ELECTION CHANCES
Asked about the LP’s chances, on the other hand, in next year’s midterm elections, Ms. Robredo said, “Maaga pa para pag-usapan ang chances namin. Kasi in the middle of the campaign season, nag-i-iba ang ihip ng hangin.” (It’s too early to tell our chances. Because in the middle of the campaign season, the wind changes.)

“Hindi ako natatakot sa mga numerong ‘yun,” Senator Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV said for his part, when asked in a press conference on Tuesday about the LP being practically missing in Pulse Asia’s recent senatorial polls. (I’m not afraid of those numbers.)

“Ibig lang sabihin, kailangan pa tayong magtrabaho,” he also said. (It only means we should work harder.)

The LP held its press conference partly to present its senatorial bets, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel I. Diokno, former House deputy speaker Lorenzo R. Tanada, and reelectionist Paolo Benigno A. Aquino IV.

Ms. Robredo said the LP will come up with a full roster by October, before the deadline of the filing of candidacies beginning Oct. 11.

Sought for comment about the LP’s election chances, University of Santo Tomas political-science professor Marlon M. Villarin said via text: “I think the LP, despite their loudness on matters affecting the Duterte administration, remained conservative with their senatorial slate, considering the latest surveys do not favor their ideal team and this is a clear leadership crisis for the LP.”

University of the Philippines political-science assistant professor Perlita M. Frago-Marasigan also said via text when sought for comment: “LP is banking on name-recall but these candidates have yet to create their individual mark in politics and must build a ‘niche market’ if they want to succeed.”

In his response to the Pulse Asia survey, Mr. Sotto said in part: I think the survey reflects the opinion of the people on the Senate. We’re hardworking, we’re efficient, we’re doing our work.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras, Arjay L. Balinbin, and Charmaine A. Tadalan