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Trust, approval ratings for Duterte, Robredo go up, Pulse Asia survey says

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte meets Vice President Leni Robredo during the Change of Command ceremony and Parade and review held at Camp Aguinaldo last July 01, 2016. — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

By Dane Angelo M. Enerio

THE Philippines’ two highest government officials “enjoy majority approval and trust scores,” a survey report released by Pulse Asia on Friday said.

The nonprofit polling organization’s latest Ulat ng Bayan said President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo received approval ratings of 88% and 62%, respectively.

Both officials saw similar gains in June compared to their previous ratings in March, with Mr. Duterte seeing an 8% increase over his previous 80% rating and Ms. Robredo seeing a 7% increase from her previous 55% rating.

Ms. Robredo’s disapproval rating went down to 14% from 21% in March while Mr. Duterte’s was halved to 3% from 6%.

In comparison, recent poll results from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed Mr. Duterte’s satisfaction rating drop to a record low of +45 (good), an 11-point decline from his previous +56 rating (very good). The Pulse Asia survey was conducted between June 15 and 21 while the SWS poll was conducted between June 27 and 30.

In the time between the two surveys, Mr. Duterte had called God “stupid” and has pushed exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison to give up on having peace talks with the government after saying the President was “difficult to talk with.”

Besides the approval ratings, Pulse Asia also noted both Mr Duterte and Ms. Robredo enjoyed higher trust ratings of 87% (from 78%) and 56% (from 53%), respectively. Public distrust towards the two were steady, with Mr. Duterte’s going down to 2% from 4% and Ms. Robredo seeing a one point dip to 17%.

Former Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel also saw majority approval ratings of 72%, an 11% increase from his 61% rating in March. His trust rating also saw a similar jump to 64% from 53%.

House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez was the only official in the list not to enjoy majority approval ratings, despite his rating going up to 47% from 41%. Mr. Alvarez’s trust rating dipped to 19% from 22%, as well.

Public approval of the Senate, House of Representatives (HoR), and Supreme Court (SC) also rose, with ratings of 69% (from 60%), 66% (from 56%), and 63% (from 53%), respectively.

A similar pattern emerged for the trust ratings, as the Senate’s rating jumping to 61% from 55%, the HoR’s increasing to 58% from 51%, and the SC’s going up to 54% from 47%.

The gap between the two Pulse Asia surveys saw the ouster of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno by her peers in the high court through Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida’s quo warranto petition.

In the survey, Ms. Sereno’s trust rating dropped to 19% from 22% while her distrust rating increased to 35% from 27%.

Responding to the survey, Presidential Spokesperon Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a statement “[t]he Palace expresses its gratitude for our people’s continuing vote of confidence for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who remains the most approved and most trusted top national official today.”

Ms. Robredo’s camp, through lawyer Ibarra “Barry” M. Gutierrez, said in a statement, “[m]alaki ang pasasalamat ng Pangalawang Pangulo sa patuloy na pagtiwala at pagbigay suporta ng ating mga kababayan sa kanya at sa trabahong ginagawa niya (the Vice President is grateful for the continued trust and support coming from our countrymen which are given to her and to her work.)”

“Ang resultang ito ay muling nagpapatunay na ang pagtutok ng Pangalawang Pangulo sa kapakanan ng mga nasa laylayan ay suportado ng maraming Pilipino, at magsisilbi itong inspirasyon sa kanya na ipagpatuloy at lalo pang palawakin ang kanyang programa para sa mahihirap (This result once again proves the Vice President’s focus on the welfare of the needy is supported by many Filipinos, and it serves as an inspiration for her to continue and, more importantly, expand her programs for the poor,)” Mr. Gutierrez added.

Opposition Senator Antonio F. Trillanes IV, for his part, said in a statement the survey was “invalid” as there was “clearly a sampling design error.”

“Pulse Asia, historically, keeps on insisting to use respondent of Davao City to generalize or represent the population for the whole Mindanao,” he said.

He explained, “[t]his is not valid anymore because the respondents of the other regions are clearly not as fanatical to or fearful of Duterte.”

According to Pulse Asia, its survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews with 1,800 registeres voters aged 18-years old and above with a + 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level.