MANILA — Senators on Monday expressed various reactions to the dip in the recent net satisfaction and trust ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte — some downplaying it and others saying it should be a cause for concern.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, an ally of Duterte, said that it should not be a cause for concern because historical data shows that presidents usually experience a dip in trust and approval ratings after their first year in office.
“It’s just a part of the cycle of politics, and it shouldn’t be a cause for concern in Malacañang,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Gatchalian pointed out that despite the ratings dip, what is clear in the survey results is that the Filipino people continue to trust the President and approve of his performance.
He, however, said that this does not mean that the Executive Branch should not be complacent and urged the administration to view the survey results as “constructive challenge” to do more for Filipinos.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, like Gatchalian, said that the drop in trust and approval ratings was “bound to happen.”
“It was bound to happen kasi ganyan naman talaga ang trend. After the so-called honeymoon period nagkakadiperensya lang kung mas mabilis ang one presidente sa iba or the other way around (It was bound to happen because that’s really the trend. After the so-called honeymoon period there will only be a difference on whether one President’s ratings drop faster),” Lacson said in an ambush interview.
Can bounce back
Lacson stressed that it was a “rather large drop” by 18 points (+66 to +48) but noted that if Duterte made some “adjustments” in the way he deals with the opposition or with his allies, it would be worthy to see if he would be able to bounce back.
Unlike Gatchalian, he said that Malacanang should worry about this dip in ratings.
“They should worry about that. Normally nakita nating drop mga single digit. Pero this time di lang double-digit, it’s more than 15 percent (Normally we see single digit drops. But this time it’s not only double digit, it’s more than 15 percent),” Lacson said.
“I would suggest if only for his sake para magkaroon ng stability ang ating pamahalaan not necessarily ang administration, dapat magkaroon ng review, parang look back and find out saan ba ang mga areas na kailangan baguhin o magkaroon ng adjustment,” he added.
(“I would suggest if only for his sake so that there would be stability in our government not necessarily in the administration, there should be a review, a look back to find out which areas need to be changed or need adjustment.”)
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, for his part, described the drop in ratings as a “wake-up call” for the President and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rethink its strategy on the drug war and how to address the killings.
“Marami nang Pilipino ang natatakot na maging collateral damage ng drug war (Many Filipinos are now afraid of being collateral damage of the drug war),” Aquino said
He was referring to the June 23 to 26, 2017 SWS survey where seven of 10 Filipinos expressed fear that they themselves or someone they know will become a victim of an extrajudicial killing.
“The President should not take this for granted. Panahon na upang makinig ang Malacanang sa pangamba ng taumbayan ukol sa patayan sa ating mga komunidad (It’s time Malacanang listen to the concerns of the people about the killings in our communities),” he added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, like Aquino, also urged the President to stop the war on drugs describing the dip in his ratings as “an ominous warning.”
“There are deep and widening rumblings of discontent across different social classes and all over the country with rampant killings, fake news and numerous accusations of corruption,” Hontiveros said.
“I reiterate my call to the President to stop his bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands, including innocent minors,” she added. With Niña Venus-trainee (PNA)