MANILA, Philippines – Most polled Filipinos show anxiety over the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, and want the embattled magistrate convicted, said the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in a report released Thursday, March 29.
In the SWS survey conducted from March 10 to 13, 73% of respondents said they want Corona convicted. On the other hand, 25% said said they prefer a “not guilty” verdict.
Do Filipinos think the Senate will issue a fair verdict? SWS found respondents divided, with 51% unsure, 30% showing “much” trust, and 19% showing “little” trust in the impeachment court.
“The dominance of the middle position, with a near-balance of the positive and negative sides, indicates public anxiety about the ultimate decision of the Senate,” the pollster said in its survey first published by BusinessWorld.
Most respondents, however, “will accept the decision of the Senate in the impeachment trial whether Corona is acquitted or convicted.” The SWS said 67% of respondents agree with this statement while 9% of them disagree. The undecided comprised 24%.
The SWS findings echo the survey results released last week by another pollster, Pulse Asia, on the impeachment proceedings. Pulse Asia then reported 47% of respondents think Corona is guilty.
This is 26% lower than the number of SWS respondents who want Corona convicted in its latest survey.
Pulse Asia conducted its survey over a longer timeframe – February 26 to March 9.
When Pulse Asia conducted its survey, Corona's lawyers had not presented its evidence yet. The SWS, on the other hand, covered the first and second days of the defense counsels' presentation of evidence, which began on March 12.
Trial 'too slow'
Meanwhile, the impeachment trial is “much too slow” for 49% of respondents, while it is “moving at the right pace” for 40%. The trial is “too much in a hurry,” according to 11%.
Nevertheless, 51% of SWS respondents expressed satisfaction with Corona's ongoing impeachment trial. On the other hand, 20% said they are dissatisfied while 29% said they are undecided.
The impeachment court is fair to both the prosecution and the defense, said 69% of respondents. It is “too liberal” with the prosecution, said 12%, while it is “too liberal” with the defense, said 17%.
In a guesting on Rappler's Talk Thursday last week, Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said Corona may be acquitted given the way the impeachment trial has proceeded. “If the Senate doesn't favor those motions coming from the prosecution, (he may be acquitted),” Holmes said. “(The prosecutors) are too weak.” (Watch Talk Thursday below)
The SWS released the survey a week after the Senate suspended Corona's impeachment trial for over a month. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.