THE NUMBER of Filipinos satisfied with the way democracy works under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte has dropped to 78% as of March 2018 from 86% in Sept. 2016, but the average remains the highest among past leaders, a Social Weathers Survey (SWS) study reported. In a forum last Friday, Political Science Professor and Analyst Gene Lacza Pilapil said, “This satisfaction rating may be driven by instrumental reason.” He said, “This democratic satisfaction is connected with popularity… The popularity of Duterte isn’t political, it’s economical.” He cited SWS’ First Quarter 2018 Social Weather Report where 78% were “satisfied with how democracy works” and 60% prefer the democratic type of government. Under former presidents, the satisfaction ranges were: President Corazon C. Aquino, 45-50%; Fidel V. Ramos 46-70%, Joseph E. Estrada, 41-70%; Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, 28-68%; and Benigno S.C. Aquino III, 64-79%. Mr. Pilapil, however, noted that “The factors that affect his popularity are already weakening.” He cited the high prices of rice, saying, “The most important component of food for the poor is rice,” which could contribute to a possible weakening in the democratic satisfaction rating in the future. — Gillian M. Cortez