MANILA, Philippines?Public satisfaction with the way the Aquino administration is handling the Maguindanao massacre case plummeted in March, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The administration?s net satisfaction score with regard to the massacre fell to a ?poor? minus 19, down 14 points from the ?neutral? minus 5 recorded last November, said the SWS survey which was first published in Businessworld last Tuesday.
Net satisfaction fell in all areas, most notably in Luzon outside metro Manila, where it fell by 21 points from a ?neutral? plus 3 to a ?poor? minus 18 in March.
Three out of four respondents (75 percent) said the current pace of the case was ?too slow,? but a near majority (47 percent) believed the Aquino administration was treating the Ampatuan family and their co-accused ?just right?.
The SWS considers a rating of 70 and above ?excellent?; 50 to 69, ?very good?; 30 to 49, ?good?; 10 to 29, ?moderate?; 9 to minus 9, ?neutral?; minus 10 to minus 29, ?poor?; minus 30 to minus 49, ?bad?; minus 50 to minus 69, ?very bad?; and minus 70 and below, ?execrable.?
The SWS polled 1,200 representative adults from March 4 to 7, with an error margin of plus-or-minus three percentage points.
More than half, or 51 percent, said they were dissatisfied with the way the Ampatuan issue is being resolved, up from 46 percent in November. Those who expressed satisfaction fell from 41 percent to 32 percent, while those undecided rose from 12 percent to 16 percent.
The case was being followed ?somewhat closely/very closely? by 67 percent, slightly lower than the 70 percent recorded in September and November, SWS said.
Regarding the pace of the massacre case, 21 percent said it was moving ?at the right pace? while 4 percent said the government was ?too much in a hurry?.
Some 39 percent said the government was being ?too lenient? with the people accused in the massacre and 13 percent said it was being ?too harsh?.
Worst election violence
The Maguindanao massacre on Nov. 23, 2009, is considered to be the worst election-related crime in recent Philippine history. The main suspects are members of the powerful Ampatuan clan who allegedly sought to stop a political rival, Esmael Mangudadatu, from running for governor of Maguindanao.
The 57 victims included relatives and supporters of Mangudadatu, who were on their way to the Commission on Elections to file his candidacy papers, as well as at least 31 local journalists who traveled in the convoy.
(Although the death toll is officially 57, a 32nd journalist, Reynaldo Momay, is believed to have been killed as well. The suspects are being prosecuted for only 57 murders because the journalist?s body remains missing.)
Primary suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr. and 195 others have been charged with murder in connection with the massacre.
By geographical area, net satisfaction fell by 18 points to a ?poor? minus 23 in the Visayas and stayed ?poor? in Metro Manila (down to minus 20 from minus 13), as well as in Mindanao (down to minus 18 from minus 16).
By economic classes, net satisfaction fell by 16 points among class D (down to ?poor? minus 21 from ?neutral? minus 5), 13 points among class E (down to ?poor? minus 12 from ?neutral? plus 1), and nine points among classes ABC (down to ?bad? minus 37 from a ?poor? minus 28).
Regarding the pace of the massacre case, 81 percent in Metro Manila, 76 percent in the Visayas, 75 percent in Balance Luzon and 70 percent in Mindanao said it was ?too slow.?
By socio-economic class, 95 percent of classes ABC, 78 percent of class D and 62 percent of class E said the case was moving too slow. Inquirer Research