The net satisfaction rating of President Benigno Aquino 3rd fell 15 points in September, a steep drop from June’s figure, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The survey, conducted from September 20 to 23 and first released in BusinessWorld, showed that 68 percent of Filipino adults were satisfied with Aquino’s performance, while 19 percent were dissatisfied, a net rating of +49.
Despite the drop, SWS said the Aquino’s rating remained in “good territory.”
The +49 was considered “good,” compared to a “very good” +64 in June.
The survey was conducted at a time when public outrage over the alleged misuse of pork barrel funds was at its peak.
The SWS said that while it was the fourth time that Aquino’s score dipped below +50 since he assumed his post in 2010, he rebounded last year from a “good” +42 in May to a “very good” +67 in August.
Down across all areas
SWS said Aquino’s net satisfaction ratings fell across all areas, socioeconomic classes and gender, though the figures did not fall below “good” rating.
The President suffered a 26-point fall in the Visayas, from +74 (excellent) to +48 (good).
His score remained a “very good”+52 in Mindanao, and in Balance Luzon.
In Metro Manila, his score also slid, to +38, or “good.”
Aquino’s rural net satisfaction fell to +52 (very good) from +70 (excellent).
His urban net satisfaction also fell from a “very good” +57 to a “good” +47.
Among the ABC socio-economic classes, Aquino’s score fell by 20 points to a “very good” of +55 from an “excellent” +75 in June.
His net rating among the D class (“masa”) fell by 10 points to +52.
It also fell to a record low of +39 (“good”) among Class E.
Meanwhile, Aquino’s satisfaction rating among women was at +50 or “very good”, 13 points below his score in June.
Among men, his score was +48 (good), 16 points below that in June.
Malacañang attributed the President’s falling rating to the outrage over the pork barrel.
But Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said they welcomed the survey since there was just a slight adjustment.
“While an overwhelming majority of Filipinos remain supportive of the President and his agenda, we recognize that the increase in those dissatisfied reflects the depth of anger and disappointment of the people at the way public funds have been stolen,” Valte said.
The President still enjoys the trust and confidence of the majority of the people, she said.
“Public support of the President has always stemmed from his sincerity in addressing the ills of the system, his unwavering commitment to do what is just and right, his compassion for the underprivileged, and his belief that only by weeding out corruption can we uplift the lives of the poor,” Valte said.
Failure in governance
But Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela said the plunge in the ratings is a result of a failure in governance.
“The drop in Aquino’s popularity rating is a natural consequence following his failure to heed the people’s demand to abolish the pork barrel in all its forms and hold those involved in the pork barrel scam accountable as well as to address the problem of unemployment amid increasing prices of rice, oil and other commodities,” Ilagan said in a statement.
She warned that Aquino’s satisfaction rating will drop even further if he continues to shield his allies from accountability and refuses to totally abolish the pork barrel system.
“You cannot steal bread from someone who is hungry and not expect some form of resistance or retaliation. The government’s inaction on the pork barrel scam and the worsening poverty in the country will produce dire consequences for Aquino and his ilk,” Ilagan said.
Reps. Antonio Tinio of Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Carlos Zarate and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list also attributed the fall in ratings to the pork barrel controversy.
“It was a clear public response to the PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] scam, and a big part of that response is the President’s continued defense of PDAF despite the anomalies involving it and the DAP issue coming into light,” Tinio told reporters.
He was referring to the release of PDAF funds to the fake non-government organizations owned by Janet Napoles and the release of DAP funding for the pet projects of senators.
“It is clear that the public wants the pork barrel system abolished,” he added.
Colmenares agreed. “The entitlement of recommending projects and identifying its beneficiaries is still there so there is still pork. The public doesn’t want this because this breeds graft and corruption and political patronage,” he said.
But for administration lawmakers Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar and Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar, the drop in the President’s ratings is only temporary.