Mar 172015

PNoy visits wounded soldiers at V. Luna

PNoy visits wounded soldiers at V. Luna. President Benigno Aquino III visits wounded soldiers confined at the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City on Monday afternoon, March 16. Aquino thanked the injured troopers for their gallantry and bravery during their separate encounters with members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, and the Abu Sayaff in Jolo and Basilan. Benhur Arcayan

Liberal Party (LP) executives have downplayed  the steep decline in President Benigno Aquino III’s trust and approval ratings as a minor dip in the public’s level of satisfaction in his performance and expressed confidence the public will still remember him for reforms than the Mamasapano incident. 

LP whip for Visayas Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said the 21-percent dip in Aquino’s trust and approval ratings isn’t a cause for alarm even if he acknowledged that the President’s numbers were affected by the public outcry over the Mamasapano incident. 

“Until the people have clearer answers to the questions [about what happened in Mamasapano], I think public sentiment will continue to be high and affect the President’s rating in the survey,” he said.

Asked if the drop in Aquino’s rating is a cause for concern, Treñas said: “I don’t think so. I think the Mamasapano will finally come to an end because conclusions will soon be arrived since we’re already waiting for the results of all the ongoing investigations… I believe the people will see through the results and realize the President has done everything correctly within his control.”

Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, LP’s vice chairman for political affairs, said Aquino’s rating remains high compared to previous presidents during the final months of their administration.

“Comparatively naman [the President’s] ratings are high compared to other Presidents in their last year na talagang negative. Si PNoy nasa 30-plus pa rin… In a while mare-realize din ng mga mamamayan na maraming nagawa itong administrasyong ito,” he said.

Ratings to be corrected

Results of the latest Pulse Asia survey showed Aquino garnering his lowest trust and approval ratings since assuming the presidency in 2010, with his approval rating plunging from 59 percent last November to 38 percent this March, while his trust ratings crashed to 36 percent this month from 56 percent last November. 

The survey was conducted with 1,200 respondents from March 1 to 7, or over a month since the tragic clash in Mindanao that resulted in the death of over 60 individuals, including 44 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers.

Just like the fluctuations in the stock market, Treñas said the fall in the President’s trust and approval ratings will eventually be “corrected” in the run up to the 2016 elections.

“So many things can happen before the elections. So many good things done by the administration have been eclipsed by the Mamasapano incidet but I believe these issues will eventually be clarified. Just like the stock market, ultimiately there will be a correction before the elections that will lead to LP’s victory,” he said.

See administration’s gains

Erice expressed confidence the public’s trust in the President will be restored once they realize the gains that have been achieved under his administration. 

“People will see through the survey results after a while and see the positive things that the Aquino administration has done far outweigh [the Mamasapano] incident. Naniniwala naman akong walang na-violate ang Pangulo na anumang batas,” he said. 

Investigation by the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (PNP BOI) showed Aquino violated the chain of command within the police force when he met with suspended PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima and Special Action Force commander Dir. Getulio Napeñas Jr. regarding the mission.

Malacanang and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, however, insisted Aquino did not violate the chain of command since the President cannot be considered Commander in Chief of the PNP, a civilian institution.

See writing on the wall

For their part, militant lawmakers believe the decline in Aquino’s rating showed the public no longer believe Aquino’s shifting explanations regarding the Mamasapano operation. 

“This is a clear indication that the Filipino people do not buy Aquino’s lame excuses on the Mamasapano clash. His approval and trust ratings can even dip further, following the release of the BOI report that named him as the one who gave the go signal for the botched operation,” said Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, noting that the survey was conducted prior to the release of the BOI report on March 12.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares hinted that the dip in Aquino’s ratings might eventually convince his allies to leave him.

“It will be all downhill from here and opens the possibility of his key allies deserting him,” he said.

The opposition lawmakers advised Aquino to step down from his post now and take responsibility for his actions in the Mamasapano operation.

“Mr. President, read the writings on the wall. If you don’t resign, you risk entering the most turbulent period in your presidency,” Ridon said. —NB, GMA News

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