‘Slide in Aquino’s approval rating is writing on the wall’

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Fr. Robert Reyes. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

LUCENA CITY, Philippines—Activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes on Tuesday warned President Aquino that the dramatic slide of his public approval ratings in two major surveys was the proverbial “writing on the wall.”

“God and the people are now talking to him. P-Noy should now listen with his heart and hear the plea of the Filipino people. He should now sympathize with the sorry plight of his suffering ‘bosses,’” Reyes said in a phone interview.

Reyes advised the President to stop listening to his allies in Malacañang like Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Budget Secretary Florecio Abad “who are only protecting their self-interest.”

He warned that if the people’s anger shifts from the controversial pork barrel scam to the President himself, “it may be too late” for Aquino.

The activist priest said the people are really telling the President “to abolish the pork barrel system and we will all survive as a people.”

In two separate surveys released on Monday, the President’s public satisfaction ratings took a nosedive largely brought on by the pork barrel fund scandal.

According to the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Aquino’s trust rating dropped to “good” in September from “very good” in June.

Another survey conducted by Pulse Asia Research Inc. showed that 45 percent of Filipinos, or close to half of adult Filipinos, are calling for the abolition of the pork barrel.

Pulse Asia also found that 67 percent believe that corrupt practices during the Arroyo administration involving the legislators’ priority development assistance fund (PDAF) have continued under the Aquino administration.

Reyes has been traveling across the country to drum up support among runners and bikers to join the symbolic “One Million Kilometer” protest run against the pork barrel system.

The run has gained support in terms of “kilometer pledges” in key towns and cities in southern Luzon. On its fourth leg held at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) on Friday, Reyes counted a total of 485,826 kilometers, or close to half of the campaign’s target to collect individual pledges to run or bike a distance to complete the one million kilometer target.—With a report from Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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