• No other way but down

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    HAPPY THOUGHTS President Aquino is all smiles as he delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Lullutan Bridge in Ilagan, Isabela on Tuesday. The 500.6 lineal meter Lullutan Bridge is considered one of the longest crossing the Cagayan River. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

    HAPPY THOUGHTS President Aquino is all smiles as he delivers his speech during the inauguration of the Lullutan Bridge in Ilagan, Isabela on Tuesday. The 500.6 lineal meter Lullutan Bridge is considered one of the longest crossing the Cagayan River. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

    EXPECT his popularity rating to further go south.

    This was the assessment of political analyst Ramon Casiple of results of surveys conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia that both showed President Benigno Aquino 3rd losing luster as a result of the tragic Mamasapano incident.

    Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, told The Manila Times that the continuous decline is expected to seriously affect not only the President himself but also his endorsement power in the 2016 elections.

    Unless his ratings improve, his anointment of his candidate for President will not be a “game changer” in next year’s polls, the political analyst said.

    “Definitely, Aquino’s ratings will have an effect on his endorsement power next year. It could either help the candidate improve his chances or do nothing for him,” Casiple added.

    President Aquino’s net satisfactory rating dropped 28 points during the first quarter of 2015 as compared to his ratings last December based on the results of the survey conducted by the SWS.

    According to the latest survey results released on Monday by the SWS, 47 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the performance of Aquino from last December’s 63 percent.

    SWS’ first quarter survey, meanwhile, showed a 12-point increase in the number of Filipinos dissatisfied with Aquino’s work or 36 percent.

    But Casiple noted that although the latest survey results showed a huge drop in the President’s satisfactory ratings, it is still within the percentage rate of Filipinos who supported him in the 2010 presidential elections.

    Aquino, during the race for the presidency five years ago, got more than 15 million votes or around 42 percent of the total number of registered voters who participated in the elections.

    Casiple said while Aquino’s current ratings are not far from his ratings in 2010, they may further go down in the coming months because of the botched Mamasapano police mission that is partly being blamed on the President.

    “There are many factors that will be put in play if we talk about Aquino’s endorsement power but right now his endorsement will not be decisive,” he added.

    But, the political analyst said, there is still time for the President to recover and focus his attention on his administration’s legacy.

    A retired general identified with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo agreed with Casiple.

    Aquino’s “ratings will continue to plunge. Mamasapano handling did him in,” former Gen. Hermogenes Esperon told The Manila Times.

    Esperon, who was Arroyo’s military chief-of-staff, said confluence of past issues will weigh in and add to the overall decline in the President’s popularity. He added that the scandals surrounding the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the alleged mishandling of issues related to Typhoon Yolanda and of the Luneta (Rizal Park) hostage-taking, the power crisis and the controversy hounding automation of elections have piled up and would all contribute to the President’s dismal record.

    Another political analyst, Malou Tiquia, scored Malacañang for misinterpreting the SWS and Pulse Asia survey results in a bid to put a positive spin on the decline in the President’s popularity ratings.

    “To say that SWS captured a correction on the dip is wrong because the questions asked were different. You cannot compare apples and oranges in the case of what is being measured,” Tiquia, also a columnist of The Manila Times, said.

    Aquino gained 47 percent as a satisfaction rating in the SWS survey, higher than the 38 percent in Pulse Asia’s earlier poll.

    Tiquia differentiated the surveys, saying Pulse Asia asked opinions on tracking each performance of and trust in some public officials in the last three months while SWS requested respondents to tell how satisfied or dissatisfied they are with the performance of Aquino.

    “Spins or propaganda may hide the real culprit for the dip but that may not serve well a President in the long run. You need to arrest that and only a correct reading of the data can lead one to scenarios and options to reverse the trend. That is if they are serious in arresting the slide,” she added.

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