Monday, December 11, 2017
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Social Climate

New standards of governance

The satisfaction of the Filipino people with the performance of Benigno S. Aquino III as president, and with the performance of the national administration under him, surpassed their satisfaction with all previous presidents and administrations, based on the Social Weather Stations surveys ever since democracy was restored in 1986 (see “P-Noy raised the bar,” Opinion, 6/25/16).

SWS sends its felicitations to President Rodrigo Duterte, and best wishes for his success. We hope that, in the next six years, those satisfied with his performance will reach P-Noy’s average of 66 percent, or more, and that those dissatisfied with it will average 20 percent, or less, so that he would match the average +46 (Good, +30 to +49) Net Satisfaction Rating of P-Noy.  (Qualification: The averages cited here are tentative, based on 23 quarterly surveys in the P-Noy period; the 24th and final survey was fielded a few days ago, and is still being processed.)

Satisfaction with the Cabinet. Popular satisfaction with a president and his or her administration is naturally related to general satisfaction with the Cabinet.  In the SWS survey records, the average +20 Net Satisfaction with P-Noy’s Cabinet (Moderate, +10 to +29) surpasses the ratings of all previous Cabinets.

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The next highest average was the +12 of Joseph Estrada’s Cabinet in his abbreviated period.  Fidel Ramos’ six-year Cabinet averaged +9, and Gloria Arroyo’s nine-year Cabinet averaged -1; both of these are Neutral (-9 to +9, indistinguishable from zero).  The Cabinet of Cory Aquino averaged only -11 (Poor, -10 to -29; but ratings of the Cabinet only started in 1990).

Satisfaction with the Vice President. SWS likewise sends its felicitations and best wishes to Vice President Leni Robredo.  She should be aware that getting a high survey rating is much easier for a vice president (VP) than for a president.  A VP’s popularity is not affected by coming from a different party from the president.

The main lesson from the history of VP ratings is that the people have, not one, but two main expectations of a VP.  The first, of course, is to be ready to assume the presidency when necessary.  The second, however, is not to be in a hurry to take over. The people frown on a VP who is not completely supportive of the president.

In the time of Cory Aquino, VP Salvador “Doy” Laurel started out with a Good net rating of +44, in October 1986.  But only a year later—i.e., after the major coup attempt of August 1987—his rating was a Neutral -5.  I think the people perceived Doy as too eager for a coup attempt to succeed, and let him take over from Cory.  From then on, Doy’s rating never exceeded +5.  It closed at a Poor -10 in 1992.  His full average, a Neutral +3, is the lowest of all the past five VPs.

The net satisfaction with VP Joseph “Erap” Estrada averaged +61 (Very Good, +50 to +69) over 1992-98.  He started at +78 (Excellent, +70 and up), and got the all-time high +87, in July 1993.  His finish-rating of +41 (Good) was the best of all the VPs.  I don’t think Erap ever challenged Ramos’ leadership as president.  He easily won the presidency in 1998.

The net satisfaction with Gloria Macapagal Arroyo averaged a Very Good +64 in her brief (July 1998-January 2001) time as VP.  It is the highest average of the past five VPs—her rating reached Excellent several times—but covered only a short period. The spoiler was her sudden collapse from +63 in September 2000 to a mere -4 in December 2000, following the “Juetenggate” scandal, her early resignation from Erap’s Cabinet, and Erap’s impeachment.

The average net satisfaction with Teofisto Guingona—appointed by the newly-installed Gloria Arroyo as her VP, since at his age he would not aspire for the presidency in 2004—was only a Moderate +12.  His rating started out at +19, its high point; its low point was a Neutral -4.

Noli de Castro, the topnotcher in the 2001 senatorial elections, was the front-running candidate for president in 2004, but he tempered his ambition when Arroyo chose him as her VP running mate.  His average net satisfaction rating was a Good +31.  His high and low points were a Good +47 and a Moderate +14. He ended at +23 in June 2010.

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The net satisfaction with Jejomar Binay averaged a Very Good +58.  His rating was Excellent several times, reaching +76.  It fell to Good in late 2014, and then to Moderate by late 2015.  It was only +25 in April 2016.  His final rating in June 2016 will be known soon.

Satisfaction with the legislature and the judiciary. I think that the superior ratings of P-Noy and his administration were reinforced by similarly favorable ratings of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Under P-Noy, the average net satisfaction with the Senate was a Good +41.  Under Arroyo, Estrada, and Ramos, the averages of the Senate were all a Moderate +20.  In 1988-92, under Cory Aquino, the Senate average was a Neutral +9.

The average net satisfaction with the House of Representatives was a Moderate +27 under P-Noy, surpassing the Moderate +16 under Ramos and +15 under Estrada, and the Neutral +9 under both Cory Aquino and Arroyo.

The average net rating of the Supreme Court was a Good +31 under P-Noy, besting the Moderate averages of +14 under Arroyo, +27 under Estrada, +21 under Ramos, and +15 under Cory Aquino.

In the people’s eyes, the standards of governance in the Philippines definitely improved in the past six years.  Meeting the new standards is the challenge facing the new administration.

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Contact mahar.mangahas@sws.org.ph.

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TAGS: governance, satisfaction survey, Social Weather Stations, surveys
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