Approval, trust ratings drop to all-time low
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has taken a direct hit from the political firestorm generated by the Mamasapano incident as his approval and trust ratings nose-dived to their lowest levels since he assumed the presidency in 2010, the latest Pulse Asia survey showed.
From 59 percent in November 2014, the President’s approval rating dropped to 38 percent in March 2015 while his 56 percent trust rating last quarter was eroded to 36 percent in March.
“This is the first time the President has posted non-majority national approval and trust ratings in Ulat ng Bayan surveys since he was first rated as President by survey respondents back in October 2010,” Dr. Ana Maria Tabunda, research director of Pulse Asia Research Inc., said in a statement.
Malacañang is not at all worried by the President’s dismal showing in the survey as Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma acknowledged that the drop in the President’s ratings reflected public sentiment on the Mamasapano incident.
He, however, pointed out that “from the outset, the President has acknowledged his personal responsibility.”
Coloma said Aquino has repeatedly said all successes and all failures of his administration land on his doorstep.
Quoting the President’s earlier statement in the immediate aftermath of the incident, he said, “I am the father of this country and 44 of my children were killed. They can no longer be brought back. This tragedy happened during my term and I will carry this to the end of my days.
They were my responsibility together with the rest of the forces of the SAF [Special Action Fgorce] involved in this operation as well as those who rescued them and whose lives were likewise put in danger.”
The survey, which was based on a sample of 1,200 respondents nationwide, was conducted from March 1 to 7 or over a month after the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, which resulted in the death of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force. Also killed in the gunbattle were 18 Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters and five civilians.
The survey has a margin of error of plus-minus 3 percent.
The release of the survey results followed an announcement, also on Tuesday, on the conclusion of a Senate committee investigation of the Mamasapano incident that said President Aquino was “ultimately responsible” for the botched mission.
A total of 23 percent of Filipinos now disapprove of the President’s performance, compared to only 11 percent in November 2014.
Those undecided with Aquino’s performance also rose, from 30 percent in November to 39 percent this month.
This means around one in every four Filipinos “is critical of presidential performance and distrusts him,” Pulse Asia said.
Visayas registered the biggest drop in approval rating. From 68 percent in November 2014, the President’s rating fell to 41 percent in March or a drop of 27 percentage points.
Metro Manila came in next where the rating dropped to 26 percent in March from 49 percent in November.
Mindanao dropped to 45 percent from 67 percent while the Luzon rating was dragged from 54 percent to 36 percent.
Disapproval was highest in Metro Manila, registering 41 percent in March from 17 percent in November. Figures also rose in the rest of the country.
According to Pulse Asia, Aquino’s approval and trust ratings got “eroded” in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes.
It said criticism of presidential performance “becomes more manifest in Metro Manila (+24 percentage points) and Class D (+13 percentage points) while distrust becomes more marked in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon (+25 and +12 percentage points) and Classes ABC and D (+21 and +16 percentage points, respectively).
Pulse Asia said levels of indecision on the matter of trusting or distrusting the President remain virtually unchanged across geographic areas and socio-economic classes.
In contrast, levels of ambivalence toward presidential performance go up in the Visayas and Mindanao (+16 and +14 percentage points, respectively) and Class D (+11 percentage points).
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the survey results are an indication of a “growing public unrest” and signal the President’s “imminent downfall.”
“This is a clear indication that the Filipino people do not buy Aquino’s lame excuses on the Mamasapano clash. His approval and trust ratings can even dip further, following the release of the [PNP-Board of Inquiry] report that named him as the one who gave the go-signal for the botched operation,” Ridon noted.
“Mr. President, read the writing on the wall. If you don’t resign, you risk entering the most turbulent period in your presidency,” he said.
WITH NEIL ALCOBER