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Duterte rating rises: Blow to critics or sign of fear?

/ 05:36 AM December 30, 2018

Notwithstanding his threats against Catholic bishops, public satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte rose in December, the second time that his performance ratings increased after an 11-point decline in June, results of a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

Malacañang on Saturday raved about the continued big support for Mr. Duterte, but an opposition senator said respondents may have been fearful of expressing their true sentiments.

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The Palace said the continued big support for the President was a big blow to his detractors.

“The consistent satisfaction rating of President Duterte puts a lie to critics and detractors who find nothing good in his style of governance,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in statement.

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He said the public support for the President “also sends a strong message to foreign human rights groups and foreign governments to put a stop to their baseless and unkind accusations on his war on drugs.”

Respondents afraid

Opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, however, doubted the survey results.

Trillanes said nobody would believe that 7 out of every 10 Filipinos were satisfied with how Mr. Duterte was running the government because life had been hard in the country and the administration had committed a lot of blunders.

“Either there were sampling errors or those who answered the survey were in fear,” the senator surmised.

The elections in May, in which people will choose a new batch of senators and local officials, will be the true gauge of the people’s views about the President, he said.

‘Very Good’

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“Regardless, the true sentiments of the Filipino people will be known in next year’s midterm elections,” Trillanes said.

Mr. Duterte is expected to endorse several senatorial candidates for the polls.

Seventy-four percent of Filipinos were satisfied with his performance while 15 percent were dissatisfied, resulting in a net satisfaction rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of a “very good” +60, said SWS, which conducted the survey from Dec. 16 to 19.

The President’s latest performance rating brought his average net satisfaction score for 2018 to a “very good” +54, five points below +59 he got in 2017.

The noncommissioned survey covered 1,440 respondents and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.6 percentage points for national percentages, and plus-or-minus 5 percentage points each for Luzon (outside the capital region), Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao.

‘Kill’ bishops

The rise in the President’s ratings came despite his strident attacks on the Catholic Church.

In early December, he said bishops should be “killed” for supposedly doing nothing but criticizing his administration.

A week earlier, Mr. Duterte suggested that Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, an outspoken critic of his antidrug campaign, was into drugs.

The President earlier accused David of stealing money from church coffers. The bishop denied the allegations.

According to SWS, the rise in Mr. Duterte’s ratings was due to the double-digit increases he got in Metro Manila (up 22 points to +58) and the Visayas (up 13 points to +62) as well as the 3-point increase in Luzon outside Metro Manila to +52.

These resulted in the rise of the President’s net satisfaction rating by one grade to “very good” in Metro Manila, the Visayas and Luzon outside Metro Manila.

Mr. Duterte’s rating remained “excellent” in Mindanao at +73, down 4 points.

Up among all classes

Satisfaction in his performance also rose in all socioeconomic classes. The President got double-digit increases in class ABC and class E.

The biggest increase of 21 points to +62 was recorded among class ABC, followed by 20 points among class E to +65. Both resulted in a “very good” rating for Mr. Duterte from “good.”

His rating stayed at “very good” in class D, or the “masa,” up 2 points to +58. —REPORTS FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH, CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO AND LEILA B. SALAVERRIA

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