Palace spokesmen, survey company charged for graft

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FOUR of President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s spokesmen and survey firm Pulse Asia Research Inc. will be facing charges over their purported conspiracy for plying out a dubious poll result on the president’s satisfaction ratings last month.
Former Rep. Augusto Syjuco Jr. of Iloilo province slapped before the Office of the Ombudsman a complaint against ranking Palace officers Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, Secretary Ramon Carandang of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte and Pulse Asia.

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In a 22-page complaint, Syjuco accused the Palace’s lead communication officials for allegedly conspiring when they released Pulse Asia “fraudulent and deceiving survey results.”

The complaint stems from Pulse Asia’s public poll done between September 14 and 27, which reflected a six-point increase of the president satisfaction rating from 73 percent in June to 79 percent.

Syjuco said the survey results were bogus, considering that the release of the poll results were in time with the Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel scam and the Disbursement Acceleration Program issue, whose legality issues continuously hounds Malacañang.

The former lawmaker compared the Pulse Asia figure with the results from the Social Weather System (SWS) and underscored the “glaring inconsistencies and discrepancies” of the two survey firms.

He said that the SWS result showed Aquino’s approval rating from September 20 to 23 at +49, with 68 percent “satisfied” and 19 percent “dissatisfied.”

“These patent inconsistencies only reveal that one of these surveys is false, sham and fraudulent. So, which is which? Apparently it is the Pulse Asia Inc. survey,” Syjuco said.

Presidental cousins
In his complaint, Syjuco used the earlier findings of former Sen. Francisco Tatad, who bared the association of Aquino to his maternal cousins, Rafael Cojuangco Lopa and Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco.

Quoting Tatad, Syjuco said that Rafael was a director of the survey firm while Tonyboy bankrolled the institution of Pulse Asia in 1990 as could be gleamed from data at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Syjuco said previous Pulse Asia illustrated the “manipulations and misrepresentations of Pulse Asia for the benefit of the Aquino administration” when it tagged former President Gloria Arroyo as the most corrupt president in December 2007 survey.

Pulse Asia also branded former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez as the most unpopular official in February 2011 survey and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the most corrupt institution in a March 2011 survey.

“To call it by its common name, respondents became spinners or sorcerers for the President and undertook the process of manufacturing false propaganda,” Syjuco said.

He accused Palace press relations officers of “professionally [managing] misrepresentations, distributed falsehoods, public lies and distorted [psychological]war” against the public.

Syjuco asked the Ombudsman to investigate the accused of graft and violations of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and to map out the real relationship of Aquino to the people holding duties in Pulse Asia and validity of the survey done in September.

“Respondents clearly betrayed public trust and belief in presenting an apparently false survey results. One thing is clear, the public is not satisfied with the present President anymore,” he said.

 

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