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Analysis

Binay gains from Aquino’s SC attack

/ 03:50 AM August 04, 2014

The latest public opinion surveys on performance and trust ratings of top Philippine officials reveal that more Filipinos approved of the performance of Vice President Jejomar Binay over President Aquino, although both their ratings tumbled.

Most galling to the President was the finding that respondents of Pulse Asia’s June 24-July 2 survey gave Binay an 81-percent approval rating while Mr. Aquino trailed a distant second with 56 percent.

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However, both leaders posted a decrease in their approval ratings, with Mr. Aquino’s dropping to 56 percent from 70 percent in March and Binay’s to 81 percent from 87 percent.

The tail end of the conduct of the survey covered July 1 when the Supreme Court issued a ruling that the Disbursement Acceleration Program—which came under severe criticism as the President’s “pork barrel”—was unconstitutional.

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The survey came in the midst of the filing of plunder and graft charges by the Office of the Ombudsman against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, and alleged mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and several other government officials in the Sandiganbayan in connection with the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

While the cases were filed as part of the President’s anticorruption campaign, he did not escape the public opinion backlash unleashed by the Supreme Court ruling, against which he railed in a heated public attack on the high tribunal.

Backlash

The controversy raised by Mr. Aquino’s assault proved to be his undoing in terms of his approval and trust ratings, which plunged as a result of his intemperance.

On the other hand, Binay benefited from the windfall. It is ironical that he became a beneficiary. He kept a low profile in performing his duties.

He was not a passionate disciple of Mr. Aquino’s “daang matuwid” (straight path) crusade and one gets a sneaky feeling that Binay may have been embarrassed to identify himself with the President’s “yellow army” and reformist standard-bearers.

Indeed, the President himself apparently did not consider Binay one of his knights in shining armor charging to slay the monsters of corruption embedded in past administrations.

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Top aspirant

The Pulse Asia survey also produced a result that might be offensive to the self-righteous Mr. Aquino. Binay emerged as the top choice among the possible presidential contenders in the 2016 national elections.

Binay got 41 percent of the votes among 1,200 respondents nationwide—an increase from 40 percent in March. He was followed by Sen. Grace Poe, with 12 percent and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, 9 percent.

Sen. Francis Escudero, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago were at 4th to 6th places, getting 7 percent.

Binay does not have a ghost of a chance to be endorsed by Mr. Aquino as his successor in 2016. For one thing, he does not need that endorsement. For another, there can’t be a more politically incompatible lineup in outlook than Mr. Aquino and Binay in terms of good governance.

Steepest drop

In the Pulse Asia survey, it was the President among the top five leaders who suffered the steepest drop in public approval and trust ratings since he took office in 2010.

While Binay obtained slightly lower approval ratings, he remained the most appreciated and trusted national leader in the country. He obtained an approval rating of 81 percent in June, down from 87 percent in March, and a trust rating of 79 percent, a decline from 86 percent.

Mr. Aquino is a distant second, with an approval rating of 56 percent (from 70 percent), and a trust rating of 53 percent (from 69 percent).

3 other leaders

Three other leaders suffered declines in their ratings, dragged down by their close association with the President. They were Senate President Franklin Drilon, who came in third with an approval rating of 52 percent—just 4 percentage points away from the President—followed by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno with 35 percent and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. with 33 percent.

Drilon’s 52-percent approval rating in June was 6 percentage points less than that in March, while his trust ratings fell by 9 percentage points, or to 46 percent from 55 percent.

Kiss of death

Sereno’s approval rating was 5 percentage points less than that in March, or 35 percent from 40 percent, while her trust rating was 32 percent, or 4 percentage points less than her score in March.

Not one went unscathed from the kiss of death from a declining and unraveling regime, which is struggling to make up in its last 700 days for its lost years so it could leave a legacy of economic accomplishments—enabling the poor to share the benefits of growth spurred by the government’s inclusive growth targets.

Kris’ emotional appeal

The tumbling popularity ratings of the administration have driven it to deploy members of the Aquino family to intervene to help prop up its crumbling popularity.

On the fifth death anniversary of former President Cory Aquino on Friday, Kris made an emotional appeal on TV, asking the public to support her beleaguered brother who, she said, was “doing a good job.”

She said: “All of us who love and support Noy (the President) should be there with him in moments [when] he is being criticized, but more importantly, in the moments [when] he is doing good. I tell Noy now that the great majority of people still believe; they know what a good job he is doing. But the problem is that his supporters and believers choose to remain silent.”

This is a cheap shot, from the Aquino dynasty. What is this—a call for another people power?

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