Aquino’s ratings fall to lowest since 2010

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III’s approval and trust ratings plummeted to their lowest levels since 2010 following the public outrage over the Mamasapano debacle that left 44 police commandos dead, the latest Pulse Asia Survey showed.

“This is the first time the President has posted non-majority national approval and trust ratings in Ulat ng Bayan surveys since he was first rated as president by survey respondents back in October 2010,” Pulse Asia said.

Aquino’s approval rating fell to 38 percent in March 2015 from 59 percent in November 2014, while his trust rating dropped to 36 percent from 56 percent for the same period.

The Pulse Asia survey, conducted from March 1 to 7 with 1,200 Filipino adults, also showed a significant rise in the disapproval and distrust towards Aquino.

The number of respondents who expressed disapproval toward the President rose from 11 percent in November to 23 percent this month, while those who did not trust Aquino increased to 27 percent 13 in the last quarter of 2014.

Pulse Asia said a notable increase in the President’s disapproval rating was seen in the National Capital Region, up by 24 percentage points (from 17 percent in November 2014 to 41 percent in March).  Among the geographical areas, the rise in distrust was also highest in NCR, up 26 percentage points ( from 17 percent to 43 percent for the same period).

Pulse Asia said this means that one in every four Filipinos “is critical of presidential performance and distrusts him.” The biggest drop in the President’s approval rating was recorded in the Visayas, falling 27 percentage points (from 68 percent in November to 41 percent in March), followed by the National Capital Region with a 23 percentage point decrease (from 49 percent to 26 percent).  Aquino’s approval rating in Mindanao also fell 22 percentage points (from 67 percent to 45 percent) while it slid 18 percentage points in Luzon (from 54 percent to 36 percent).

The President’s approval ratings also fell across economic classes, down 24 percentage points for Class ABC and D (from 59 percent in November 2014 to 35 percent this month).

Among Class E, Aquino’s approval ratings fell 10 percentage points (from 57 percent to 47 percent).

Class ABC also registered the highest increase in distrust, up to 35 percent from only 14 percent in November last year.  Aquino’s trust rating also suffered double-digit point drops in all areas—Luzon at 34 percent (from 52 percent), Visayas at 40 percent (from 62 percent), and Mindanao at 45 percent (from 62 percent).  The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said the plunge in approval and trust ratings of the President was “the inevitable outcome of his constant lying over the Mamasapano issue.” “The lies and excuses have only managed to further isolate Aquino.  There is widespread public disgust over his role in Mamasapano and the ensuing cover-up,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said.  “The survey also had not even taken into account the effects of the Board of Inquiry report which found that the President broke the chain of command and favored his suspended buddy, (resigned Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Alan) Purisima. Aquino’s ratings thus could plunge even further,” Reyes added.

Reyes said protest actions to call for Aquino’s resignation will resume on March 20 all the way to March 25 to mark the second month since the Mamasapano debacle.

The Palace on Tuesday acknowledged that the botched operation in Mamasapano could have caused the sharp drop in the President’s ratings.

During a press briefing, Communications Secretary Heminio Coloma Jr.  said the administration was determined “to work even harder” to regain the people’s trust and confidence.

Coloma said the President understands that the death of the 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police commandos in Mamasapano brought sadness to the entire nation, and would continue to listen to the people to understand their feelings.

Coloma said the President remains fully committed to bringing justice to the SAF 44 as well as pursuing peace in Mindanao.  The death of the SAF 44 at the hands of Muslim rebels, including fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, has thrown a wrench in the government’s peace agreement with the MILF.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law upon which the peace agreement is anchored has faced rough sailing in Congress after the Jan. 25 massacre. – With Sandy Araneta

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