Who is better?

THE latest opinion poll shows President Rodrigo Duterte maintaining his majority trust and approval ratings, which remain at an all-time high.

Pulse Asia reports that its fourth quarter 2017 survey, conducted from Dec. 10 to 15 and 17, shows the President’s trust and approval ratings remain at 80 percent and 82 percent.

Mr. Duterte’s allies and administration officials were quick to jump on the latest poll findings, saying the results affirmed the President’s strong political will and no-nonsense style of governance.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, meanwhile, welcomed the release of the latest survey, saying that it showed that people “are aware of and recognized the significant strides that the President undertook in his one year and a half month in office.”

He further assured the public that the President would continue to discharge his duties with the nation’s interest foremost in his mind.

Remarking on the latest survey results, Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said Duterte’s scores were only slightly higher than those received by his predecessor, President Benigno Aquino III.

But Social Weather Stations, a rival polling company, said seven of 10 Filipinos believe President Duterte is better than his immediate predecessor.

In a survey conducted from Dec. 8 to 16, 2017—70 percent of Filipinos believe Duterte’s performance is better compared to that of his predecessor, while only 8 percent believe otherwise.

Some 22 percent of the respondents said the performances of Duterte and Aquino were just the same.

Of course, comparisons are inevitable.

Both Aquino and Duterte—if the polls are to be believed—were extremely popular during their first years in office. In both instances, their allies used those high poll ratings to justify administration policies and courses of action. For the chief executives, high survey ratings translated into political capital that they could spend as they saw fit.

If the Aquino administration is any indication, how popular one is is far less important than what one chooses to do with that popularity.

Awash with a strong election victory in 2010, President Aquino chose to squander his political capital to persecute his opponents. He misused public funds to entice congressmen and senators to impeach and convict the chief justice of the Supreme Court, simply because he stood in the way of Mr. Aquino’s plans. He also used his political capital to cover for the ineptitude and corruption of his allies. All of this took time and resources away from the more important business of nation building.

Mr. Duterte and his allies must remember the lessons of the past, or be doomed to repeating them at our considerable expense.

Topics: Who is better?

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