Trust rat­ings drop

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

WHAT goes up, must come down. That’s from the song “Spin­ning Wheels” by the group Blood Sweat and Tears. That can now be ap­plied to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s sat­is­fac­tion and trust rat­ings. For a while, many thought he was a Te­flon pres­i­dent, what with his pop­u­lar­ity not wan­ing de­spite the curs­ing in his speeches, the ris­ing body count in his war against drugs and the im­punity in his rule.

Af­ter a lit­tle more than a year in of­fice, the down­ward slide has started. A So­cial Weather Sta­tions (SWS) sur­vey con­ducted last month and re­leased Sun­day showed the pres­i­dent’s net sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing drop by 18 points to + 48 (for Duterte sup­port­ers, SWS still clas­si­fied it as “good”) while his net trust rat­ing fell by 15 points to + 60 (cat­e­go­rized as still “very good”).

I ac­tu­ally thought the drop wouldn’t come this early de­spite the is­sues that hounded the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion one af­ter the other last month, like the killing of mi­nors Kian de los San­tos, Carl An­gelo Ar­naiz and Rey­naldo de Guz­man; the Se­nate probe into the smug­gling of P6.4 bil­lion worth of shabu that linked the so-called Davao Group and dragged pres­i­den­tial son Paolo Duterte to the smug­gling case; the Om­buds­man probe into the pres­i­dent’s al­leged bank ac­counts; etc.

But Duterte is not a Te­flon pres­i­dent, af­ter all, and by ex­ten­sion the 16 mil­lion who voted for him in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tions are not re­ally all “tards.” The steep­ness of the rat­ings drop and its tim­ing showed that. Some of the Duterte sup­port­ers who were once vo­cif­er­ous in their de­fense of their idol did open up to the is­sues hound­ing the Duterte ad­min and weighed these in­de­pen­dently.

Mala­cañang greeted the sur­vey re­sults with a cer­tain de­gree of fa­tal­ism, say­ing that the drop was in­evitable. Pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Ernesto Abella said it was “ex­pected given the fact that peo­ple mea­sure their ex­pec­ta­tions usu­ally af­ter the hon­ey­moon pe­riod, or af­ter a year in of­fice.” Abella’s nice phrase, that the “love is still there” for the pres­i­dent, was shared by his camp.

And there are Duterte sup­port­ers who con­sider this de­vel­op­ment a mere blip in the radar. For­mer pres­i­dent Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, per­haps the most-ma­ligned Mala­cañang oc­cu­pant post-Fer­di­nand Mar­cos, said of the sur­vey re­sults: “It re­flects the pulse of the peo­ple at a par­tic­u­lar time. A drop though does not mean ero­sion of pub­lic sup­port but merely a sen­ti­ment on par­tic­u­lar polici es.”

I agree. So we now have to see if the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion can re­cover from this one or if the down­ward slide will con­tinue, like what an of­fi­cial of one of the com­mit­tees of the Catholic Bish­ops’Con­fer­ence of the Philip­pines (CBCP) said. “It will con­tinue to go down un­less he (Duterte) shapes up, es­pe­cially on is­sues of cor­rup­tion, ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings, po­lice im­punity, and oth­ers.”

The is­sues that hounded the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion last month are fairly clear. But is the pres­i­dent pre­pared to ad­dress the is­sues to the sat­is­fac­tion of those who are now get­ting dis­il­lu­sioned by his re­fusal to ad­dress them headon? Here’s one truth: If you want dif­fer­ent re­sults from what you are get­ting, then try dif­fer­ent ap­proaches.

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