For FALLEN 44
First of a 4-part series
About half of adults in Metro Manila believe President Benigno Aquino 3rd and resigned Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima should be held accountable for the casualties of the Mamasapano clash, a survey conducted by the Laylo Research Strategies (LRS) said.
The findings came out clear from the LRS survey conducted from Feb. 6 to 9 as commissioned by The Manila Times on the botched police operation, which has impassioned national debate over the competence of the top government and security officials of the country.
This sentiment was earlier expressed by Sen. Miriam Santiago during the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs investigation on the Mamasapano clash when she mentioned that relieved Special Action Force (SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas should not be blamed for the whole fiasco that led to the killing of the 44 elite police commandos.
Also in last week’s hearing, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. called on Aquino, the Commander-in-Chief, to come clean on his role in Oplan Exodus since none of his officials had admitted who among them had informed the President about the clash in Maguindanao.
The President was in Zamboanga City with some Cabinet members and military officials on January 25 supposedly to check on a bombing incident that left two people dead.
When asked who should be accountable for the Mamasapano clash, 48 percent of respondents in Metro Manila pointed to President Aquino, with those aged 18-35 and class D registering the highest at 52 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Aquino’s trusted friend, Purisima, got a higher 53 percent figure, with 59 percent of adults in the NCR aged 18-35 blaming him for the debacle.
Only 20 percent blamed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), while 16 percent pinned the blame on Napeñas. Meanwhile, 9 percent blamed the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. An insignificant 6 percent blamed the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.The poll showed that close to six out of ten Filipinos were not satisfied with how the Aquino administration responded to the January 25 encounter between SAF troopers and Muslim guerrillas. Class E, the poorest and most marginalized section of society, long recognized as the country’s breeding ground of unrest, expressed the highest dissatisfaction at 61 percent.
The respondents of the survey said the Commander-in-Chief’s non-appearance during the arrival of the remains of the fallen SAF commandos was their most disliked action or response of the president with regards to the deadly encounter.
Because of Aquino’s absence, the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo (Where is the President) became the hottest trending topic on Twitter worldwide as Filipinos expressed outrage at the president’s gracing of the opening of a new car factory in Laguna rather than attend the arrival ceremony for the Fallen 44.
A high 96 percent of the respondents were aware of the Mamasapano clash through television news, 30 percent from discussions with family, relatives, and friends, and 28 percent from radio. Significantly, 17 percent learned about the Mamapasano clash from broadsheets and tabloids, 14 percent from their Facebook accounts, and 11 percent from Internet news.
A significant majority in the National Capital Region watched and are aware of at least one of Aquino’s speeches on the Mamasapano clash, including his acceptance of Purisima’s resignation.
The Manila Times-Laylo survey interviewed 300 adults, randomly chosen in the National Capital Region representing its 15 cities and two municipalities, and weighted by economic class, about a week after the Mamasapano clash occurred with a plus and minus 6 percent error margin.
Laylo Research Strategies has been a reputable pollster since 2001. Its principal pollster, Pedro Laylo, Jr., started his career as a fellow of the Social Weather Stations in the 1990s. He has a master’s degree in Public Opinion from the University of Connecticut, home of the famed Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.