Second honeymoonsBy Mahar Mangahas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Not only President Noynoy Aquino but also other top officials achieved new personal bests in public satisfaction in the third quarter 2012
Social Weather Survey, which was conducted last Aug. 24-27 and released through BusinessWorld the last two Fridays.
The President. Compared to the second quarter 2012 survey of May 24-27, the percentage satisfied with P-Noy’s performance rose to 77 from 63, and the percentage dissatisfied with him fell to 10 from 21.
Consequently, his net satisfaction rating rose from +42 in May to +67 in August, topping his previous best of +64 in November 2010. Both his old and new personal bests are classified by SWS as Very Good (+50 to +69).
P-Noy’s net rating rose most of all in the National Capital Region, from merely +18 (Moderate) in May to +59 in August. It also rose significantly in Balance of Luzon, from +41 (Good) to +70 (Excellent), and in the Visayas, from +41 (Good) to +76 (Excellent). In Mindanao, it was at a Very Good + 61 in both May and August.
Everyone is entitled to do her/his own analysis of the survey findings. Personally, I do not emphasize too much the timing of the interviews—that is to say, during the tragic week of mourning for the lost Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo—because I prefer to look at the total picture encompassing the two successive quarters, in which the obvious big difference was the ouster of Chief Justice Renato Corona. For that very popular move, the people apparently give credit not only to P-Noy but also to other top officials.
Another remarkable thing is that this new personal best has happened as late as the ninth quarter of P-Noy’s term, when the honeymoon should normally be over. In the surveys closest to their ninth quarters, the net ratings of Presidents Cory Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos were +64 and +55, respectively—also Very Good, but below P-Noy’s now—while that of Joseph “Erap” Estrada was merely +13 (Moderate). Their respective personal bests of +72, +69 and +67 happened much earlier in their terms. (Comparing with Gloria Arroyo is no use, since her personal best in nine years as president was a mere +30.)
The Vice President. Vice President Jojo Binay likewise scored a new personal best in August, with 82 percent satisfied versus only 6 percent dissatisfied, for a net rating of +76, after already having posted successive excellent +70s in both the first and the second quarters. His previous best was +74 in March 2011.
To me, it is proper to compare a vice president not with a president but with previous VPs. As popular as Jojo Binay presently is, some past VPs were even more popular. In FVR’s time, his VP
Erap scored +70 or more for 10 consecutive quarters, including the all-time high +87, a +82, two +78s, and a +77. When Erap was president, his VP Gloria Arroyo had two +81s and a +79.
Thus both VP Erap and VP Gloria were more popular than their respective presidents; their presidents also came from different parties, just like P-Noy and VP Jojo today. Both Erap and Gloria fulfilled their presidential ambitions, but both eventually turned out poorly. Erap was impeached, and then convicted for plunder. Gloria was the most unpopular president in the entire history of Philippine opinion polling, with negative scores for six consecutive years—even Ferdinand Marcos, in mid-1985, still had a moderate net satisfaction rate.
The Senate President, Speaker, and Chief Justice. With 73 percent satisfied, and only 8 percent dissatisfied, with his performance, the new net satisfaction rating of +65 for Juan Ponce Enrile makes him the most popular Senate President ever since SWS began tracking this item in April 1990, surpassing Neptali Gonzales’ +61 in September 1992. Obviously it is due to his good job as presiding officer of the (televised) impeachment trial of CJ Corona.
For Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, having 40 percent satisfied and 20 percent dissatisfied with his performance, the new net rating of +20 (Moderate) is also his personal best. The consistently positive ratings of the low-key Speaker are a big relief from the consistently negative ratings of Speaker Nograles over 2008-2010. The last time any speaker did as well was 10 years ago, when Jose de Venecia scored a +22 in November 2002.
There were 29 percent satisfied and 25 percent dissatisfied with the performance of Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio, for a net rating of +3 (correctly rounded). This is a welcome return to the Neutral (-9 to +9) ratings of CJs Artemio Panganiban and Reynato Puno over 2006-2010. Justice Carpio’s immediate predecessor, CJ Corona, started at -18 (Poor, for -10 to -29) in June 2010, after accepting his midnight appointment from Gloria Arroyo, and ended at -44 (Bad, for -30 to -49) after he testified at his impeachment trial.
The Senate, House and Supreme Court. The new net satisfaction ratings of +67 (Very Good) for the Senate and +42 (Good) for the House of Representatives are their record-highs since the start of survey tracking in 1988.
The +35 (Good) net rating of the Supreme Court is its highest since the +37 of March 2001, after the breakdown of President Erap’s impeachment trial, presided over by CJ Hilario Davide. The high court’s all-time record of +39 was in March 1999, under CJ Andres Narvasa.
This time of extremely high popularity of top government officials and institutions is opportune for making tough decisions that are nonetheless in the best interests of the people.
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Contact SWS: www.sws.org.ph or email@example.com.
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