MANILA, Philippines – The famous Forrest Gump adage likens life to a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. For Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, life as a public official is like ice cream. Sometimes it’s soft, sometimes hard.
Enrile turned to ice cream in welcoming news of his increased trust ratings, based on a February 26 to March 9 Pulse Asia survey. The survey ranked Enrile as the third most trusted public official at 63%, following Vice President Jejomar Binay and President Benigno Aquino III. He even ranked 2nd in performance approval ratings at 71%, higher than Aquino’s 70%.
Pulse Asia President Ronald Homes told ANC the impeachment trial led to an increase in Enrile’s survey ratings.
Asked about this, Enrile said, “Alam mo ang popularity, parang ice cream iyan, minsan matigas, minsan malambot, natutunaw.” (You know popularity is like ice cream, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes soft and melting.)
He added, “Ako ay nagpapasalamat. Hindi ko sasabihin na hindi ako happy kasi magiging hypocrite ako. [Hypocrite ka] ‘pag hindi ka nasasayahan ‘pag ikaw ay sinasang-ayunan ng bayan,” Enrile told reporters. (I am grateful. I won’t say I’m not happy because I would be a hypocrite. A hypocrite would say he is not happy even if the nation approves of him.)
The presiding officer of the impeachment trial went on to explain that even if one’s survey ratings are “soft” or down, this does not mean an official is not performing well because he or she may be doing something right but unpopular.
“I am also human and I make mistakes. There was a time I was down. I was called a demon, butcher and all sorts of words like bastard, butcher, martial law administrator. If you are serving the public, many people will notice you. If they can, they will spit on you. That’s how it is.”
Enrile said he does not know if the increase in his ratings is an indication that he is doing well in presiding the impeachment trial.
“I am only doing what I know as a lawyer and what I think is the justice that must be observed in this trial. I’m just fair, I’m not leaning toward any side. Like the President, my only boss is the nation.”
Aquino popularity soft?
Enrile also offered a piece of advice to Aquino who faces criticism like the recent tag “Noynoying” to refer to his supposed laziness or inaction.
“When you are at the center of power, you have to make decisions everyday and the decisions are not ordinary decisions, you cannot please all the people. Whenever you make a decision, there are people who are always unhappy and you just pray that your decision is right,” Enrile said.
Enrile cited as an example his former boss, President Ferdinand Marcos. Enrile was Marcos’s defense minister during Martial Law.
“President Marcos probably had a very, one of the very high ratings when he was elected then pababa, pababa, pababa, pababa hanggang dumating ang araw bumaba na talaga. Wala nang magawa, baba nang baba pati siya bumaba na.” (Then it went down, down, down, down until one day it really dipped. He couldn’t do anything and even he went down.)
‘Corona rating at 106%’
While Enrile is happy, lawyers of Chief Justice Renato Corona dismissed the survey result. The same survey showed that the Chief Justice is the least trusted among the top 5 government officials. He registered the steepest decline in performance ratings.
At the time of the survey, the defense had yet to start presenting evidence and witnesses.
Defense counsel Jose “Judd” Roy III retorted, “Minsan hindi na reliable ang mga Fools, excuse me ano ang pangalan, Pulse Asia? (Sometimes, it’s not reliable to count on Fools, excuse me, what’s the name, Pulse Asia?) Let us not be fooled by these things.”
Roy said the defense panel is more interested in persuading 23 senators of Corona’s innocence.
He told reporters, “If you want I can also give my survey result to you. In my latest survey, the approval rating of the Chief Justice is 106%. What I’m trying to say is don’t be fooled by those surveys.” – Rappler.com