by Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
After suffering a slump in his approval and trust ratings in the first quarter of 2017, President Duterte’s ratings have bounced back to 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively, in the second quarter, based on the latest Pulse Asia survey results released on Monday.
Using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 respondents, the June 24-29 nationwide survey found that 82 percent of Filipinos approve of President Duterte’s work in the past three months. Only 5 percent expressed disapproval, while 13 percent were undecided whether they approve or disapprove of his performance.
Eighty-one percent of Filipinos also expressed their trust on the President, while 14 percent were undecided and 5 percent have little or no trust in him.
“It’s pleasant news,” Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a Palace press conference after the release of the survey results.
“How come there’s such a high approval rating? Simply because of that, that he gets them and they get him,” he added.
President Duterte’s latest approval and trust ratings are higher than the 78 percent and 76 percent, respectively, he got in the March, 2017, survey.
At the time of the survey, some significant issues that pre-occupied Filipinos were the Marawi crisis; the continuing fighting between government security forces and the Maute terrorist group that has resulted in the loss of lives on the part of both camps; the decision of President Duterte to declare martial law in the entire Mindanao due to the Marawi siege; and the downgrading of the charges filed against members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Region 8, headed by Chief Supt. Marvin Marcos, from murder to homicide in connection with the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
Abella said the President would not claim sole credit for the high public approval rating, adding he would also recognize the contributions of the Cabinet and the rest of the government workforce.
The survey results were released shortly after the President drew criticisms from some groups for making light of rape in a recent public event.
Abella, however, explained that the President was not making a joke but was actually being sarcastic in denouncing the audacity of a person to commit rape even though knowing he would die. He added the President made a serious and “very forceful” statement against criminals.
“People have made comments regarding that matter, but as we have already seen, the President is more than just jokes. The majority of the people, especially the masses, really get him,” he said.
In the same survey period, Filipinos approval and trust in Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno also improved.
Robredo’s approval rating rose from 56 percent to 60 percent, and trust rating from 58 percent to 61 percent.
“This further strengthens our resolve to keep working hard to reach out to our fellow Filipinos – to listen to their concerns, to uphold their interests, and to engage them as partners for building a better, fairer society for all,” Robredo said.
The country’s second highest official launched “Angat Buhay,” her flagship project, to facilitate partnerships between local governments and different stakeholders to address poverty.
Her first year in office allowed her to take her anti-poverty program around the country, visiting 80 communities with almost P52.72 million worth of resources for 36,046 individuals and 22,275 families.
But among the five top government officials, Pimentel received the most significant improvement in approval and trust ratings at 62 percent (from 55 percent) and 58 percent (from 51 percent), respectively.
Alvarez’s approval rating increased from 40 to 43 percent, but it is practically the same as the 38 percent indecision rating, or those who were unsure whether they approve or disapprove of the Speaker’s performance.
Forty-one percent of Filipinos either trust Alvarez or are ambivalent about his trustworthiness.
Meanwhile, 48 percent of Filipinos approve of the work done by Sereno, from 42 percent in the previous quarter. She recorded basically the same trust and indecision figures (43 percent versus 39 percent).
Pulse Asia noted that President Duterte and Pimentel obtained majority approval figures across all geographic areas (75 percent to 95 percent and 54 percent to 71 percent, respectively) and socio-economic classes (79 percent to 84 percent and 60 percent to 62 percent, respectively).
Likewise, the Vice President has majority approval ratings in most geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (60 percent to 66 percent and 60 percent to 72 percent, respectively), with Metro Manila and class ABC or upper-to-middle class being the exceptions (both at 44 percent).
The pollster pointed out that the only majority approval score of Alvarez was granted by those in Mindanao (62 percent).
As for Sereno, she registered near majority approval ratings in the rest of Luzon (47 percent and class D or “masa” (48 percent) but recorded basically the same approval and indecision figures in the other geographic areas (44 percent to 45 percent versus 36 percent to 38 percent and class E or the “poorest” (45 percent versus 36 percent).
She enjoyed majority approval ratings in Mindanao and class ABC both at 55 percent.
Majority trust ratings were obtained by President Duterte and Pimentel in all geographic areas (73 percent to 97 percent and 53 percent to 69 percent, respectively) and socio-economic groupings (77 percent to 85 percent and 55 percent to 62 percent, respectively).
Meanwhile, Robredo received majority trust ratings from those in most geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (57 percent to 66 percent and 60 percent to 69 percent, respectively), with the exception of those in Metro Manila (44 percent) and those in class ABC (43 percent).
For Alvarez, most Filipinos in Mindanao trust him (57 percent), while most of those in class ABC cannot say if they trust or distrust him (51 percent).
Meanwhile, 50 percent of those in Mindanao trust Sereno, while almost the same percentages of those in the other geographic areas and socio-economic groupings either trust her (38 percent to 42 percent and 41 percent to 44 percent respectively) or are ambivalent toward her trustworthiness (36 percent to 46 percent and 38 percent to 41 percent, respectively).
The House of Representatives (55 percent), Supreme Court (58 percent), and Senate (59 percent) received majority approval ratings in the survey.
Similarly, these government institutions enjoyed the trust of most Filipinos – the House of Representatives (52 percent), Supreme Court (56 percent), and Senate (57 percent).
Pulse Asia noted that the overall trust ratings of these institutions were essentially unchanged between March and June, 2017. (With reports from Genalyn D. Kabiling and Raymund F. Antonio)