WILL the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) be the millstone that will crush President Benigno Aquino 3rd?
It may, according to an analyst, especially if the President fails to sell his excuse for the controversial disbursement program that was recently stricken out by the Supreme Court.
University of the Philippines Public Administration Professor Prospero De Vera said the steep drop in the President’s trust ratings in recent surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia may continue if Aquino fails to effectively justify DAP.
“The drop in approval rating is significant but it will go down further if the President will be unable to address public anger on the DAP. At this point, protecting his men and allies and sounding the call for matuwid na daan (straight path) will no longer generate public support unless decisive and resolute action is done on the DAP issue,” de Vera said on Monday.
He was referring to results of the recent SWS survey that showed the President’s net satisfaction rating plunged to a moderate +25.
On the other hand, the Pulse Asia survey showed that Aquino’s approval and trust ratings also dove after the Supreme Court (SC) declared the DAP unconstitutional.
The President’s approval ratings dropped to 56 percent from 70 percent last March, Pulse Asia said. Aquino’s trust ratings also fell to 53 percent from 69 percent four months ago, according to the pollster.
Political analyst Ramon Casiple echoed de Vera’s view that Aquino’s ratings can still recover “based on future actions.”
“[It has the] tendency to go down but still high enough [for now],” Casiple said in a text message to The Manila Times.
Casiple noted that the SWS survey results were a “reaction to the DAP issue.”
“Even if the survey was done before the SC decision [was made], [Aquino’s] Teflon popularity has waned, especially now that he entered the last third of his term,” he said, referring to Aquino’s last two remaining years in office.
“Performance and no longer expectations is the rule here now,” Casiple added.
But Malacañang offered a different view on the survey results with its spokesman Edwin Lacierda giving emphasis to the “healthy majority” who “expressed trust and confidence in the President.”
“We believe that as the President explains to the people the truth of the matter with ongoing issues, the public will understand and respect the tough choices he has made for the public good. While pollsters generally note a dip in enthusiasm going into the fifth year of any administration, with SWS satisfaction rating at 55 percent; Pulse Asia performance approval rating at 56 percent and trust approval rating at 53 percent, these numbers can be considered par for the course or average for this period,” Lacierda said.
But Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. admitted that the drop in the President’s ratings is seen as a “wake-up call” to step up the delivery of Aquino’s promises to the people.
“We are heeding the people’s call for stepped-up delivery of essential public services and institutional reform,” the Palace official said.
“Heading into the last two years of this administration, we discern our people’s rising expectations that the government will level up and deliver on the salient points of the President’s social contract,” he added.
According to Coloma, the government is broadening the scope of social protection in the key aspects of job creation, health care and basic education. Infrastructure building for sustained economic growth is also being pursued, he said.
Meanwhile, Renato Reyes of the militant Bagong Alayansang Makabayan (Bayan), a group that had questioned the DAP, said the decline in the President’s ratings was “inevitable.”
“Inevitable decline after being exposed as king of ‘pork.’ The decline in his second quarter ratings does not reflect greater public outrage after the SC declared the DAP unconstitutional last July1. Aquino is reaping what he has sown,” Reyes added.