Drop in Duterte ratings ‘insignificant,’ say senators
Senators, including an opposition member, played down on Wednesday the slide in President Rodrigo Duterte’s performance and trust ratings based on the latest Pulse Asia survey, saying the drop was “insignificant” and not “unusual.”
The survey, conducted from March 15 to 20, showed Duterte’s performance fell five points from 83 in December last year to 78 percent in March, while his trust rating slid by seven points from 83 percent to 76 percent.
But Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party and member of the Senate minority bloc, saw nothing “unusual” with the five-point drop in Duterte’s performance rating.
“All Presidents before him also experienced very high trust ratings at the start of their terms and eventually these ratings all dipped so there is really nothing unusual with the (five)-point drop,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“His ratings remain high and I hope he uses his high trust ratings to address the main concerns of our citizens which are to address the rising prices of goods, create better paying jobs, and improve incomes,” he added.
Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Sherwin Gatchalian, members of the Senate majority group, also shrugged off the drop, saying it was “insignificant” and should not ring alarm bells.
“It’s not unusual for the trust and performance ratings of any head of state in our country to slide in the course of time. The ‘honeymoon’ period will last sooner or later but it will come to that anyway. A 5-7 percentage point drop is not significant and shouldn’t ring alarm bells at this point,” Lacson said in a text message.
“But if the drop continues in big numbers in the months to come and consistently at that, particularly in his second year in office, if I were him, I would sit down with trusted advisers to assess and make some adjustments if necessary, not only in terms policies and actual implementation of those policies but more so in my public pronouncements.”
“At the end of the day, rightly or wrongly, a leader should somehow adopt to what the people want or demand of him to do to serve them if he wants to succeed. Needless to say, the support of the people he serves is one indispensable element in governance,” Lacson added.
For his part, Gatchalian said the survey did not reflect a “significant drop” in the President’s approval ratings, considering that the latter has been subjected to an “unprecedented amount of international criticism and negative publicity.”
“However, despite all of the attacks launched against him, a commanding super-majority of the Filipino people remains confident in President Duterte’s ability to lead our country,” he said in a separate statement
“If anything, these results illustrate how deeply the Filipino people trust the President and how much they believe in his vision for the Philippines,” Gatchalian said.
Senator Richard Gordon, another member of the majority bloc, said the survey could still change but it should serve as a reminder to the President that he should maintain the rule of law.
“Ang importante sa akin, alam ng President na dapat gawin ‘yung dapat gawin. Alam naman n’ya kung ano ang gusto ng bayan, peace and order. Alam n’ya rin na ang bayan, maraming mga sektor ng bayan katulad ng mga simbahan e nangangamba dun sa madaming patayan,” Gordon said in a phone patch interview with Senate reporters.
(What’s important to me is the President knows what needs to be done. He knows that the public wants peace and order. He also must know that many sectors in the country, particularly the church, that are worried about the spate of killings.)
“Tama ‘yung sinabi nung prelate noong isang araw, hindi ‘yung number ng killings, dapat may nahuhuli sa pumapatay. ‘Yun talaga ang enforcement, may nahuhuli. E walang nahuhuli,” he said.
(I agree with a prelate’s statement the other day; it’s not just about the number of killings, there has to be accountability for the killings. We need enforcement, killers getting arrested. But none has been arrested.)
As chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, Gordon led the investigation on alleged extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country. His committee, however, found no proof that the killings were state-sponsored. IDL
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