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Duterte rating ‘not surprising’

Kristina Maralit

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Malacañang on Thursday disclosed that officials working closely with President Rodrigo Duterte were not surprised with the continuing trust of Filipinos to their leader.

The Chief Executive remained the most trusted government official based on the latest survey released by Pulse Asia, and presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said it is “not surprising.”

Critics attacked the President on his stand on the Recto Bank sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a bigger Chinese vessel

Panelo also said the President’s consistent high approval and trust ratings are proof of the people’s confidence in him “despite the criticisms thrown at him by his detractors.”

“Not surprising. It keeps on increasing, simply because the President is a very transparent leader,” Panelo said.

“His political will shows in every measure or step he has undertaken. It shows how sincere he is, and the people are satisfied with his method of governance,” he added.

A poll released by Pulse Asia earlier this week yielded the President has an 85 percent approval and trust rating, miles ahead of Vice President Leni Robredo (55 percent).

In the same Pulse Asia poll, Senate President Vicente Sotto III got 77 percent, former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had 22 percent, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin garnered 41 percent.

“People keep on expressing their support to awaken the critics and the detractors from their slumber,” Panelo said.

“All the criticisms against this President relative to drugs vis-à-vis the West Philippine Sea and other issues of national interest are all wrong – no basis,” he added.

The Palace official also expressed confidence that the Chief Executive will maintain his high ratings, until his last day in office in 2022.

“For every issue that is thrown at him with such negative force, the detractors and the opposition keep saying the ratings will go down,” Panelo said.

“But the more they say that, the more it goes up. If that is not a powerful language to them, I don’t know what is not,” he asserted.

Not even Mr. Duterte’s unpopular stance on the Recto Bank incident and the Philippines’ territorial row with China dampened his popularity.

According to Panelo, this only shows that the public understands and supports the administration’s foreign policy with the President as its chief architect.

“Isn’t it that every time that issue is raised, he gets hit hard? That survey was done at the height of the Reed (Recto) Bank incident, so that was factored in among those asked,” he said.

Critics attacked the President on his stand on the Recto Bank sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a bigger Chinese vessel.

Both countries have investigated the incident.

Mr. Duterte’s 85 percent trust rating basically keeps the same output as that of the March survey. It technically remained unchanged despite a drop of 2 percent from 87 percent that month, but an error margin of ±2.8 percent makes the slight dip insignificant.

Support to the President remains rooted in the poorest sector of Filipinos, but those in the higher economic strata also gave the Chief Executive high trust numbers.

Mr. Duterte’s largest geographical base remains in Mindanao, which gave the President a 91 percent trust rating. Luzon and the Visayas responded without changes.

Metro Manila respondents also gave Mr. Duterte a high trust rating of 83 percent from 77 percent in March.

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