Aquino’s pet bills now in peril after survey rating plunge–lawmaker
MANILA, Philippines—The steep fall in President Benigno Aquino III’s trust ratings due to the backlash from the Mamasapano fiasco will loosen his grip on his allies and put in peril his priority bills in Congress.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said the President’s record-low ratings would spur his key political allies to abandon him.
“It will be all downhill from here. With his responsibility and accountability for the pork barrel, DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program), Edca (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) and the Mamasapano incident, it would be best for President Aquino to resign and face the consequences of his actions,” said Colmenares.
Independent minority bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the President’s poor performance in the latest Pulse Asia survey showed that he has gone on a “death spiral.”
“I think it has come to a point where people will tend to disbelieve everything he says,” said Romualdez in a press conference.
Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said that the President has been in a virtual “free fall” after the Mamasapano fiasco.
Romualdez urged the President to “come clean” on the Mamasapano debacle to give the grieving widows and kin of SAF commandos closure.
Romualdez said the public could not move on from the tragedy because the President has refused to “own up to the incident” and refused to “call it as it is.”
“It’s never too late to say sorry or accept responsibility because the delay has caused distrust, frustration and indignation because of the stubbornness of the President to accept accountability,” said Romualdez.
But Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that except for the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), he was not expecting any “paralysis” in the administration-backed bills in Congress.
Sufficient time to recover
“These (fall in ratings) are obviously the outcome of that Mamasapano thing and none other except that. As we recover from that and we see the President flexing his muscles in leadership, I believe as in cases of other popularity ratings, it goes up and down. I think he has sufficient time to recover his ratings,” said Belmonte.
“He’s still the President and we have to give due respect to him. It has never been a regime of carrot and stick under my watch,” said Belmonte.
“Let’s face it, the BBL has faced lots of doubts so all of those have to be factored in. Even a person like me cannot just say things are normal with respect to this.”
Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said that the fall in the President’s ratings was not surprising considering that he was in the final leg of his six-year term. “Everybody commits mistakes, the President included. It is not a sufficient reason for us to indiscriminately bash the President and urge for his resignation. What is important is for him to rectify the situation,” said Batocabe.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said that the President’s trust rating has remained relatively high compared to those of his predecessors at this stage of their terms.
“I don’t think that a 30-plus rating can be considered a ‘kiss of death’ and more people will realize that the President has done more good than bad in his administration,” said Erice.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas, one of the leaders of the Visayan bloc in Congress, said the Pulse Asia survey was just a reflection of the public furor over the deaths of 44 Special Action Force commandos.
“I think everyone is very emotional right now. The issue on the SAF 44 has been going on for the past several weeks and until our people find clear answers to their questions, I think the sentiments and emotions are very high and will affect the survey rating of the President or whoever is going to be there,” Trenas said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.