Aquino blames Arroyo for fall in ratings
His plummeting public satisfaction ratings are not because of anything he has done but are the effect of the public’s sentiment against corruption in the previous administration, President Aquino said on Tuesday.
“Of course, if you were in my place (you would ask), what was discovered from 2007 to 2009? Who were in office in Malacañang? Not us. So it seemed that we have been dragged into this (scandal) because we’re all part of government, perhaps,” he said in an ambush interview in Camp Aguinaldo.
Aquino said it was public outrage over the pork barrel scam that has dragged down his public approval ratings by as much as 15 percent in the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey.
But he expects he will be judged fairly because of the reforms undertaken by his administration.
“In time, people will see what we’ve been doing to prevent a repeat of this shameless (plunder of taxpayer money) from 2007…through 2010, which was the worst, and people will realize this because I think our countrymen judge fairly,” he said.
He stressed that he was not in office to score “good numbers.”
“We in government should be dictated by what is right—that should be the basis of our decisions,” he said.
He noted that the government has already succeeded in filing cases against those who misused their pork barrel entitlements, and has enough witnesses to support the prosecution of the cases.
Focused on goal
“The cases are already in the (Office of the) Ombudsman, which is an independent constitutional body tasked to bring the cases before the Sandiganbayan, and we will be filing more cases,” Aquino said.
One of the President’s communications officials said Aquino will not be deterred from pushing his reform program despite his declining public satisfaction ratings.
“We remain focused on attaining our strategic goal of fostering inclusive growth, reducing poverty and improving social protection,” Secretary Herminio Coloma, head of the Presidential Communication Operations Office, said in a phone interview.
Coloma said the Aquino administration is continuing to put in place systems and processes that promote greater transparency and accountability.
“We will build stronger partnerships with civil society whose support is essential in ensuring that institutional reforms will endure beyond this administration’s tenure,” he said.
The administration was not distracted by the results of the third quarter survey of the SWS on the declining satisfaction ratings of the President, according to deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte.
“We will move on. We will continue to move on (and continue) the reforms that we’ve already set in place. We will continue to work,” Valte told a Palace briefing on Tuesday.
Valte hinted that the President may yet reconsider his opposition to calls for the total abolition of pork barrel if Congress eventually decides to heed the people’s clamor.
She noted that there was still a debate going on in Congress on whether or not to take out entirely the pork barrel, or the priority development assistance fund (PDAF).
“I’m not quite sure if what the House finally decided (but) then we’ll see more of that in the Senate. We’ll see more of those discussions in the Senate but we’ll continue to work with them on how to address, at least, the lingering needs that used to be filled by funding from PDAF,” Valte said.
The House has decided to distribute the P25.4-billion PDAF allotment in the proposed 2014 budget to six line agencies, 35 percent of which went to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
But House legislators have been given the right to submit up to five proposals for infrastructure projects to be implemented by the DPWH next year.
A copy of the “menu guidelines” showed that representatives were each entitled to P24.5 million in infrastructure projects.
The budget bill now goes to the Senate for scrutiny and further deliberations.
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