Best president in solar system? Robredo spox bemused over ‘unprecedented’ Duterte ratings
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp has “conceded” that it is hard to compare trust and approval ratings with President Rodrigo Duterte, as the 91% mark he garnered in the latest Pulse Asia survey even rivals those received by dictators and authoritarian leaders.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, lawyer Barry Gutierrez explained that Duterte’s marks are “unprecedented,” as leaders of countries not enjoying much democracy compared to the Philippines — Russia’s Vladimir Putin, late Saddam Hussein of Iraq, and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — got lower scores.
Gutierrez also sarcastically implied that Duterte may be the best president in the solar system, a catchphrase often used by administration supporters since the high satisfaction ratings just appear too high and too much.
“Mahirap talagang gawing point of comparison iyong 91% ni Pangulong Duterte dito sa Pulse Asia survey. Talagang iyon, sobrang unprecedented noon. Just to give an example: Si Vladimir Putin ay 82% lang. Si Saddam Hussein, noong siya pa ang presidente ng Iraq, 90[%]. Si Kim Jong Un ng North Korea, 80%. So nasa ganoong level iyon,” Gutierez said on Tuesday.
(It is hard to use President Duterte’s 91 percent rating from the Pulse Asia survey as a point of comparison. That is just so unprecedented. Just to give an example: Vladimir Putin only has an 82 percent rating. Saddam Hussein, when he was still Iraq president, 90 percent. Kim Jong Un of North Korea, 80 percent. So it’s on that level.)
“Lagpas-lagpas iyon. Eh iyong mga nabanggit ko, ano na iyon ha, mga lugar ito na hindi mo maituturing na demokrasya. Ito ay mas mga authoritarian state, and yet iyong mga levels nila, nasa 80, 90. So nasa ganoong level iyon, mahirap talagang gawing level of comparison iyon,” he added.
(Duterte exceeded those scores. But the other leaders that I have mentioned, they have ruled in areas not considered as democracies. These are authoritarian states, and yet their levels were at 80, 90 percent. So Duterte is at that level, it is hard to make a comparison to that.)
However, Gutierrez stopped short of questioning the credibility of Pulse Asia’s survey, as they do not know its methodology, stressing it has respect for the survey firms conducting such studies.
“[…] Hindi ako puwedeng magsalita tungkol sa gaano kahusay o gaano ka-accurate iyong kanilang ginagawang pagsukat […] Sinasabi ko lang, as a matter of fact, na kung susuriin natin ang approval ratings ng mga iba’t-ibang world leaders, eh ang makaka-compare lang sa ibang bansa ay iyong mga tipo nga ni Saddam at ni Putin at ni Kim Jong Un,” he said.
(I can’t speak about how good or accurate their own measurements are. What I am saying is, as a matter of fact, if they follow approval ratings of other world leaders, they can only compare it to countries whose leaders are like Saddam and Putin, and Kim Jong Un.)
“Malaki ang respeto ko kay Prof. Holmes at sa mga nagsasagawa ng survey—whether Pulse Asia iyan o SWS, or any of the other professional survey firms. […] Professionals itong mga ito, at nagtitiwala naman ako na alam nila ang kanilang ginagawa. So baka tama siya,” he added.
(I have huge respect for Prof. Holmes and those conducting the survey, whether it’s Pulse Asia or SWS, or any of the other professional survey firms. They are professionals, and we believe in what they do. So maybe they are correct.)
Observers have talked about the disparity between Duterte and Robredo’s respective trust and approval ratings, as criticism over the administration’s alleged faulty handling of the pandemic has been mounting, while people have lauded the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for its efforts during the health crisis.
Duterte scored 91% each in both categories, while Robredo managed to get a 57% approval rating and 50% trust rating.
Gutierrez previously defended Robredo from presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s remarks that the Vice President’s survey ratings may be low because she is into “politicking.”
He also explained Robredo’s survey scores are lower compared to Duterte because the Vice President does not enjoy the communication mechanisms and machinery available to the administration.
Despite all the talks and the issues, Gutierrez said Robredo had no issue about getting lower ratings in surveys as she has always preferred working quietly and away from the spotlight.
“Talagang personality po ni VP Leni na quiet worker eh. Sa Kongreso pa lang siya, ganoon. Tingin ko iyong kaniyang yumaong asawa, si Mayor Jesse, ganoon din, ganoon din iyong style. So leadership style niya iyon eh,” he said.
(It’s in VP Leni’s personality to work quietly. Even when she was still in Congress, she was like that. I think that her late husband, Mayor Jesse, was also like that, also had that kind of leadership style.)
“Una talaga—prangkahan lang—hindi masyadong concerned si VP Leni sa survey sa totoo lang. Para sa kaniya hindi siya pumasok sa pulitika o sa pagsisilbi sa publiko para maging popular. Paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi, ‘di ba, ‘given a choice between doing what’s right and doing what’s popular, hindi choice iyon’,” he added.
(First — to be frank about it — VP Leni wasn’t really concerned about the survey. For her, she did not venture into politics or public service to become popular. She has repeatedly said that ‘given a choice between doing what’s right and doing what’s popular, that’s not even a choice.’)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
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.