DESPITE a sharp 15 percentage point drop in his ratings, Vice President Jejomar Binay remains the most trusted government official eclipsing President Benigno Aquino 3rd who came in only second with an approval rating of 55 percent.
According to the latest survey by Pulse Asia, Binay’s approval rating dropped heftily from 81 percent in June to 66 percent at end-September, owing largely to a series of controversies that his family got entangled in, including the allegedly overpriced construction of a parking building in Makati City (Metro Manila).
Still, the pollster said, majority of the people still support Aquino and Binay.
“Most Filipinos remain appreciative of the quarterly performance of President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd and VicePresident Jejomar C. Binay,” it noted.
Of the top five government officials polled, only Binay scored majority approval and trust ratings in every geographic area (55 percent to 75 percent and 53 percent to 70 percent, respectively) and socio-economic groupings (54 percent to 71 percent and 52 percent to 70 percent, respectively).
Aquino posted majority approval and trust ratings in the Visayas (65 percent and 61 percent, respectively), Mindanao (68 percent and 65 , respectively), Class D (54 percent and 52 percent, respectively), and Class E (both at 61 percent).
The third quarter survey was conducted from September 8 to 15 at the height of scandals such as the Makati City Hall Building 2 case and Aquino’s “openness” to the lifting of his term limit.
Binay’s approval rating was at 66 percent, while his disapproval rating was at 10 percent. About 24 percent of respondents were undecided. On the other hand, Aquino got a 55 percent approval rating and a 14 percent disapproval rating, with 31 percent of respondents undecided.
The President’s rating slid by one percentage point.
Malacanang said it was “gratified” by the Pulse Asia report.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the survey results indicated that Aquino still enjoys the approval of most of the people amid calls by some sectors for him to resign.
“We are gratified that as noted by Pulse Asia and I quote, ‘Most Filipinos remain appreciative of the President’s performance’ and that he continues to enjoy majority performance approval and trust ratings as he has done so for the past 17 quarterly surveys,” Coloma said in a news briefing also on Tuesday.
“This indication of broad support serves to spur the administration to greater efforts toward fulfilling its reform agenda and the President’s social contract with the Filipino people,” he added.
Coloma said there was no cause for alarm because there was no significant change in the President’s standing.
“There was no significant change. That means the level of performance approval and the level of ‘big trust’ are steady,” he told reporters.
The Palace official described the surveys as “credible,” noting that Pulse Asia and the Social Weather Stations are “professional” public opinion companies.
“Consistent [were they in their]methodology and basis for conducting the surveys.
[Therefore], as far as we are concerned, we consider it [Pulse Asia survey] a credible public opinion survey,” he pointed out.
The Pulse Asia report also indicated that Filipinos were relatively undecided on the performances of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senate President Franklin Drilon, and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
While half of Filipinos “cannot say if they approve or disapprove” of the work of Belmonte, the survey firm said. “Indecision is the plurality sentiment” for the performance of Drilon and Sereno.
Drilon had a 39 percent approval rating and a 15 percent disapproval rating, with 45 percent undecided. It was a sharp decline from the 52 percent approval rating in June, when he got a 10 percent disapproval rating, with 38 percent undecided.
Belmonte had a 30 percent approval rating and an 18 percent disapproval rating, with 50 percent undecided. This was a slight dip from his 33 percent approval rating in June, where he also got a 15 percent disapproval rating with 48 percent undecided.
Sereno, meanwhile, had a 33 percent approval rating and 18 percent disapproval rating, with 46 percent undecided. She, too, suffered a two percentage point drop from last June’s 35 percent.
According to Coloma, the President’s strong showing in the surveys disproves allegations that he no longer has the moral ascendancy to govern as alleged by some members of the clergy and other groups who belong to the National Transformation Council (NTC).
The council has been calling on Aquino to step down for his supposed failure to effectively lead the nation, something which Malacanang has been denying since.
Coloma said they continue to monitor and analyze arguments of groups like the NTC to find out their real agenda.
“The people should do the same. Scrutinize the motives and ask them [council]if they have concrete alternative programs because we need to set up standards for a well-meaning public discourse,” he noted.
Despite the plunge in his ratings, Binay is grateful because he remains the most trusted official, his spokesman said also on Tuesday.
“The Vice President is grateful that he remains the most trusted government official despite the baseless attacks [against him]. He will continue clarifying the issues directly to the people and performing his duties,” Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, the Vice President’s spokesman on political affairs, added.
Remulla said Senate hearings on the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 was clearly intended to influence surveys.
“The survey [conducted by Pulse Asia]was taken at the height of the one-sided Senate hearings and did not cover the live speech. We feel that it would have been a different picture had the survey captured this event since the people would have heard the Vice President’s point-by-point [replies to the allegations],” the governor said, referring to Binay’s television appearance to answer charges that he benefited from the construction of Building 2.
WITH A REPORT FROM BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON