Duterte los­ing favour amid drug killings, wealth al­le­ga­tions

The Myanmar Times - - Asean Focus -

FILIPINOS’ sat­is­fac­tion with Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte has made its steep­est drop since he took of­fice last year amid an out­cry over un­abated drug killings and un­re­solved al­le­ga­tions that he has un­ex­plained wealth, an in­de­pen­dent poll showed.

The So­cial Weather Sta­tions said its Septem­ber 23-27 na­tion­wide sur­vey showed Duterte’s sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing drop­ping by 18 points to 48, a level clas­si­fied as “good,” com­pared to its last sur­vey in June, when he got a “very good” 66-point rat­ing.

The pres­i­dent’s trust rat­ing dropped by 15 points to 60, which is clas­si­fied as “very good,” from his “ex­cel­lent” grade of 75 points in June, ac­cord­ing to the SWS poll re­leased Sun­day.

Al­though Duterte gen­er­ally re­mains pop­u­lar, the sur­vey out­come im­me­di­ately reignited calls by sev­eral groups for an end to the killings of mostly poor sus­pects un­der his bru­tal crack­down against il­le­gal drugs and for him to sign a bank se­crecy waiver to al­low an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into al­le­ga­tions of un­de­clared wealth.

An al­liance of civil so­ci­ety groups called Tindig Pilip­inas said the steep drop in Duterte’s sat­is­fac­tion and trust rat­ings means the “hon­ey­moon is over.”

“The huge drop in the pres­i­dent’s rat­ing must serve no­tice to him: the peo­ple ex­pect noth­ing but the truth on the al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, ill-got­ten wealth, and drug smug­gling fa­cil­i­ta­tion lev­eled against him and mem­bers of his fam­ily,” the al­liance said. “Mr. Pres­i­dent, we re­it­er­ate our call: sign the bank waiver!”

“The peo­ple are now see­ing through the hype and fake news, and are re­al­is­ing that change is not com­ing un­der Pres­i­dent Duterte’s watch,” left-wing Rep. Emmi de Je­sus said, cit­ing “non­stop” drug killings, the rise in prices of com­modi­ties and the en­try of a large ship­ment of il­le­gal drugs through the Bu­reau of Cus­toms in Manila.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Duterte, but he has re­peat­edly de­nied that he con­dones ex­tra­ju­di­cial killings of drug sus­pects even though he has pub­licly threat­ened drug deal­ers with death. He won the pres­i­dency with a wide mar­gin last year on a pledge to erad­i­cate wide­spread crimes, es­pe­cially drug traf­fick­ing and use, and cor­rup­tion.

Po­lice of­fi­cials said the ar­rests of more than 100,000 sus­pected drug of­fend­ers in 71,393 anti-drug raids since July last year help prove that sus­pects only get killed when they fight back and threaten law en­forcers.

The drug killings re­cently came un­der re­newed crit­i­cism after po­lice shot to death a teenage stu­dent they said was a drug dealer who drew a gun while be­ing ar­rested. Wit­nesses, how­ever, said the stu­dent was shot to death in a dark al­ley while plead­ing for his life.

Duterte has also de­nied stash­ing un­de­clared funds in joint bank ac­counts with fam­ily mem­bers, say­ing he would re­sign if the al­le­ga­tions were proven. He has re­fused, how­ever, to heed a de­mand by op­po­si­tion Sen. An­to­nio Tril­lanes IV for him to sign a waiver to al­low in­ves­ti­ga­tors to ex­am­ine the bank ac­counts.

SWS polled 1500 adults na­tion­wide in face-to-face in­ter­views for the sur­vey, which had a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 2.5 per­cent­age points.

Photo: Reuters

Protesters burn an ef­figy of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte dur­ing a na­tional day of protest, out­side the pres­i­den­tial palace in metro Manila, Philip­pines, on Septem­ber 21.

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