MANILA, Philippines – The public approval and trust ratings of President Benigno Aquino III have hit an all-time low over the Mamasapano operation that claimed at least 67 lives, including 44 elite cops, the results of the latest Pulse Asia Research survey showed.
The results of Pulse Asia’s March 2015 Ulat ng Bayan Survey on presidential performance showed Aquino’s approval rating plunging by 21 percentage points to 38% in March from 59% in November 2014, and his trust rating by 20 percentage points to 36% from 56% over the same period – the lowest since he became president in 2010.
“This is the first time the President has posted non-majority national approval and trust ratings in Ulat ng Bayan surveys since he was first rated as president by survey respondents back in October 2010,” said Dr Ana Maria Tabunda, Pulse Asia Research Director.
The nationwide survey on 1,200 adult respondents was conducted from March 1-7, when the Mamasapano operation and parallel investigations continued to dominate the headlines, and prior to the release of the police Board of Inquiry findings on the incident.
One in 4 Filipinos critical of Aquino
“Around one in 4 Filipinos is critical of presidential performance (23%) and distrusts him (27%),” Tabunda said.
The number of Filipinos who disapprove of Aquino’s performance increased by 12 percentage points, or to 23% in March from 11% in November 2014, while those who distrust him rose by 14 percentage points to 27% from 13%.
Tabunda said the “same percentages of Filipinos” either appreciate or are indecisive on presidential performance at 38% and 39% respectively, while nearly the same percentages either trust or are ambivalent towards Aquino’s trustworthiness at 36% and 37%, respectively.
Among geographical locations, the President suffered the biggest decline in terms of public approval in the Visayas, where his performance rating fell by 27 percentage points or to 41% from 68%, followed by Metro Manila where it fell by 23 percentage points – 26% in March from 49%.
“Criticism for presidential performance becomes more manifest in Metro Manila (+24 percentage points) and Class D (+13 percentage points) while distrust becomes more marked in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon (+26 and +12 percentage points) and Classes ABC and D (+21 and +16 percentage points, respectively),” Tabunda said.
Class ABC ‘split 3 ways’ on Aquino
Tabunda said public opinion on Aquino’s work and trustworthiness “is split 3 ways in the best-off Class ABC.”
She said that about same percentages in Class ABC are appreciative of Aquino’s performance and trust him (35% and 34%, respectively), express indecision as regards his work and trustworthiness (35% and 31%), and say they disapprove of and distrust him (30% and 35%).
She said that Class D gave Aquino almost the same approval and indecision figures (35% versus 43%) and trust and indecision ratings (34% versus 38%).
“Meanwhile, nearly half of those in the poorest Class E (47%) appreciate the work done by the President in the past 3 months but as far as his trustworthiness is concerned, practically the same percentages either trust him or are ambivalent on the matter (42% versus 37%),” she said.
The survey results also showed that levels of indecision on trusting Aquino “remain virtually unchanged between November 2014 and March 2015 across geographic areas and socio-economic classes.”
“In contrast, levels of ambivalence toward presidential performance go up in the Visayas and Mindanao (+16 and +14 percentage points, respectively) and Class D (+11 percentage points),” Tabunda said.
Aquino has been criticized by various sectors for the operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on January 25, which achieved its target of neutralizing terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan but led to the death of 44 Special Action Force troopers due to operational lapses that were cited in the BOI report.
Other developments during the survey period are the retirement of several Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials including chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr , the retirement of Commission on Audit (COA) Chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan, and the resumption of the Senate hearings on corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Pulse Asia said its survey has a ± 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level, while subnational estimates for each of the covered geographic areas have a ± 6% error margin, also at the 95% confidence level.
Tabunda said Pulse Asia undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys “on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.” – Rappler.com