Senators urge Duterte to view ratings dip as ‘wake-up call’

Camille Elemia
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV says Filipinos 'are now seeing Duterte for who he really is: a lying, rude, amoral, corrupt, and oppressive former mayor who is totally incompetent about governance at the national level'

RATINGS. Senators say the ratings dip of President Rodrigo Duterte should serve as a 'wake-up call' for him and the administration. Photo by Lito Boras/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Senators from both the minority and majority blocs said the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing a double-digit drop in President Rodrigo Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings should serve as a wake-up call.

For Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the drop in Duterte’s ratings is “self-inflicted,” but noted that the next surveys would provide a clearer picture.

“Certainly this is a wake-up call… Sa akin self-inflicted ngunit ito’y isang survey lamang (To me, this is self-inflicted but this is just one survey). I will not pass judgment until the next one or two surveys because that will show the trend,” Drilon told reporters in an interview.

“The government must better take a second look at their policies and the way they enforce their policies dahil kung walang pagbabago sa mga susunod na surveys baka magpatuloy ito (because if there are no changes, this might go on in the next surveys),” he added.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s fiercest critics, welcomed the decline in the President’s numbers.

“It’s very encouraging to know that the Filipino people are beginning to see the light. They are now seeing Duterte for who he really is: a lying, rude, amoral, corrupt, and oppressive former mayor who is totally incompetent about governance at the national level. Worse, his bloody war on drugs has killed thousands of his own people and created a climate of fear across the country,” Trillanes said in a statement.

Trillanes added that he expects the next poll results to be worse, as the latest survey period did not cover the Ombudsman’s supposed confirmation of the President’s bank accounts.

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said it is high time for Malacañang to change its approach to illegal drugs, citing the June SWS survey where respondents expressed disapproval of the bloody drug war.

“So putting it together, hindi dapat ito i-take for granted ng Malacañang at ng ating Presidente. Sana wake-up call na po ito na baguhin na ang ating war on drugs, bago ‘yung strategy diyan at baguhin ang patayan sa kalsada,” Aquino said.

(So putting it together, this should not be taken for granted by Malacañang and our President. I hope this serves as a wake-up call to change the war on drugs and to end the killings on the streets.)

For Senator Risa Hontiveros, the survey is “an ominous warning” that shows Duterte’s authoritarian style is losing its appeal.

“There are deep and widening rumblings of discontent across different social classes and all over the country with rampant killings, fake news, and numerous accusations of corruption,” she said.

Majority senators

Senator Francis Escudero said the survey results should be a warning to members of the Duterte administration to be “less arrogant.”

“The administration should take it as a wake-up call and, hopefully, be less nonchalant, arrogant, and cavalier especially on the part of some Cabinet and police officials. It’s a reminder to sitting officials that nothing is permanent, everything is fleeting and will come to an end soon enough, whether it’s survey numbers or their incumbency,” Escudero said in a statement.

But for Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, the survey results should not be a “cause of concern” for Malacañang as it still shows a “good” satisfaction rating and a “very good” trust rating.

He, however, urged the Duterte administration to do more, especially on the issues of corruption, poverty, and police impunity.

“The executive branch should not become complacent. I encourage the President and his administration to view these survey results as a constructive challenge to do more for the Filipino people,” Gatchalian said.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III downplayed the ratings decline and likened it to a game of basketball.

Sotto said what’s more important would be Duterte’s ratings at the end of his term in 2022.

“Sa survey mismo, matagal na ako diyan, every week halos nagpapalit ang opinyon ng tao. Gano’n talaga ‘yan,” he said. (I’ve been familiar with surveys for a long time. Almost every week, people’s opinions change. That’s how it is.)

“Six years ang binigay sa kanyang mandate eh. Parang basketball ‘yan – ‘yung 3 points pinapalakpakan pero ‘pag naagawan malungkot. Gano’n din ‘yan. Ang importante ‘yung last quarter [kung] ano’ng score. After 6 years saka maja-judge si President Duterte, hindi ngayon.”

(He was given a mandate of 6 years. It’s just like basketball – we cheer when a player scores 3 points but it’s disappointing when the ball gets stolen. That’s how it is. What’s important is his score in the last quarter. We can only judge President Duterte after 6 years, not now.) –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email