Aquino biggest loser in Mamasapano debacle – poll

KD Suarez

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Aquino biggest loser in Mamasapano debacle – poll
(UPDATED) Senate President Franklin Drilon is now the most trusted and most appreciated national official in the country, based on the results of the March Pulse Asia survey

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Benigno Aquino III is the biggest loser in the Mamasapano debacle as he has suffered the greatest drop in public trust and performance ratings among top national officials since the controversy raged in late January, Pulse Asia revealed in its latest survey on Thursday, March 26.

The results of the Ulat ng Bayan survey conducted from March 1 to 7 also showed that Senate President Franklin Drilon is now the most trusted and most appreciated national official in the country, 

None of the country’s top 5 officials, however, obtained majority approval and trust among Filipinos – a first since the start of the Aquino administration. The others in the poll are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr, and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Aquino suffered a 21-percentage-point drop in his approval rating, from 59% in November 2014 to 38% in March 2015, placing him third among top national officials – his lowest rank so far.

Drilon tops approval, trust ratings

For the first time, Drilon topped public approval rankings with 49%, followed by Binay with 46%.

Sereno was at 4th place in terms of public approval with 29%, while Speaker Belmonte was at last spot with 27% approval.

Aquino’s disapproval rating surged by 12 percentage points, from 11% in November to 23% in March – the same as Binay. Those undecided on Aquino’s performance rose by 9 percentage points, from 30% in November to 39% in the latest survey.

Aquino’s trust rating also suffered heavily: he received only 36% trust rating for the March survey, compared to 56% back in November. Those who say they don’t trust the President rose from 13% to 27% (a rise of 14 percentage points), while those who are undecided went up by 6 points, from 31% to 37%.

Drilon is now the most trusted national official in the country with a 44%-trust rating, followed by Binay with 42%, and Aquino. Sereno is fourth place with 27% and Belmonte is last with 23%

The big fall in performance and trust ratings, Pulse Asia noted, was also similar when observed across geographic regions and socioeconomic classes.

Pulse Asia said that overall performance and trust ratings of the other leading officials of the country – Binay,  Drilon, Belmonte, and Sereno – stood essentially the same from November to March, save for an 8-percentage-point decline in Sereno’s approval score.

Back in November, Aquino was the lone official to get a majority trust and approval rating. Prior to that, Binay consistently had higher approval and trust ratings compared to him. Hounded by corruption allegations, however, Binay’s ratings dropped from September to November 2014.

Responding to the survey results, Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said that Aquino is “firmly determined to fulfill his promises to his Bosses, the Filipino people.”

“In all his actions and decisions he abides by his sworn duties and serves in accordance with his judgment on what is best for the nation – regardless of the ebb and flow of  public sentiment and popularity ratings,” Coloma said.

He added that such survey results “provide valuable feedback that the highest officials may use as guidance in their policy and decision making.”

Drilon said in a statement that he will work hard in the Senate to prove that he deserves the public’s trust.

Binay, meanwhile, said he is “humbled by the people’s continued trust, considering the intensity of the lies and personal attacks” against him. His spokesman Joey Salgado said the Vice President “is equally thankful that the people acknowledge his capability to lead the nation in 2016 with integrity, competence and compassion.”

Top institutions lag

Pulse Asia also said that like the top officials, the Senate, House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court also lagged in national approval and indecision ratings.

The Senate’s performance was rated “approved” by only 38% of respondents; the House had 34% approval; the Supreme Court, 45%.

The “undecided” ratings for the Senate and House were actually higher than their approval ratings, at 41% and 42%, respectively.

“These figures do not differ significantly from those obtained by these institutions 4 months ago,” Pulse Asia said.

The survey was conducted from March 1-7, 2015, through face-to-face interviews, the survey firm said, as the issue on the Mamasapano encounter raged.

The aftermath of the deadly January 25 encounter between elite police forces and rebels – which left 44 policemen, 17 rebels, and at least 7 civilians dead – dominated the headlines, the survey firm noted.

The survey was based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above, with a +/-3% margin of error at the 95% confidence level.

“In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes,” Pulse Asia said, adding that the survey was not commissioned by any party.

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