MANILA - With less than six months to go in office, President Benigno Aquino III's trust and satisfaction ratings slipped in the latest Pulse Asia survey.
The survey, conducted from January 24 to 28, had a sample of 1,800 respondents and a margin of error of plus/minus 2%.
Aquino's approval rating shed 6 points -- from 55 percent in December 2015 to 49 percent in January 2016. Indecision towards him gained 3 points from 30 percent to 33 percent while disapproval rose 3 points from 15 percent to 18 percent.
Aquino's trust rating shed 8 points from 53 percent in December to 45 percent in January. Undecided was at 33 percent from 31 percent, and distrust rose by 6 points from 15 percent to 21 percent in January.
The survey was conducted on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Mamasapano encounter, where the President posthumously conferred the Medal of Valor and the Distinguished Conduct Medal to the 44 fallen troopers of the Special Action Force (SAF).
The Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano encounter was also reopened, with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile calling on the President to appear before the legislative body to address lingering questions concerning his alleged involvement in the planning and preparation for "Oplan Exodus."
Following the hearing, Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order which investigated the matter, said she saw no need to alter the original committee report which found the President "ultimately responsible" for the loss of lives during the operation.
At the time of the survey, the President also vetoed House Bill 5842, which seeks to extend a P2,000-increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members.
SUPPORT FROM ABC
In a statement, Malacañang said it notes the "most significant" increases in Aquino's ratings from the socio-economic class ABC at both 7+ percent.
Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said these indicate that the government's programs to institutionalize good governance and transparency as well as ensuring continued economic reform and inclusive growth have resonated well among the leaders of the professional and business communities.
"The continuing high levels of approval and trust signified by the other sectors of the country mirror the positive sentiments and outlook of our Bosses -- the Filipino people -- who have witnessed and experienced the transformation of the country and its journey toward joining the ranks of high-income countries through sustained socio-economic progress," Coloma said.
"The government appreciates the insights and provided by these surveys, which serve as valuable inputs in its continuing efforts to improve the quality of life of all Filipinos across all socio-demographic classes and institutionalize the gains of good governance and economic reform that have been accomplished during the Aquino administration," he added.
BINAY APPROVAL DROPS
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is second placer in the last Pulse Asia survey for presidential candidates in the 2016 elections, lost 5 points in his approval rating, 47 percent from 52 percent in December.
Undecided rose 8 points from 25 percent to 33 percent, while disapproval rose 3 points from to 18 percent. Trust in Binay dropped 4 points from 49 percent to 45 percent, indecision up 3 points to 30 percent while distrust was just up 1 point to 25 percent.
The poll also occurred at the conclusion of the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee's investigation into the allegations of corruption against Binay after 25 hearings dating back to August 20, 2014.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of those who led the hearings, lamented the fact that the Vice President never appeared before the sub-committee to explain his side on the matter.
Binay, for his part, maintained that the hearings have all been about "baseless" allegations with the witnesses presented by his accusers failing to present credible evidence against him.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, who is seeking re-election as senator, lost 7 points in his approval rating from 51 percent to 44 percent, added 2 points to his undecided rating from 38 percent to 40 percent, and 3 points to his disapproval rating from 11 percent to 14 percent. His trust rating is down 5 points from 47 percent to 42 percent as distrust rose 5 points from 11 percent to 16 percent.
House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, who is seeking re-election as a congressman, saw his approval rating slide 5 points from 29 percent to 24 percent and disapproval rating go up 5 points from 17 percent to 22 percent. He lost 3 points in his trust rating from 24 percent to 21 percent, lost 5 points in his undecided rating from 54 percent to 49 percent, and added 8 points in his distrust rating from 19 percent to 27 percent.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's approval rating slipped 4 points from 29 percent to 25 percent, indecision added 2 points from 47 percent to 49 percent, and disapproval rating up 2 points from 19 percent to 21 percent. Her trust rating was down 2 points from 25 percent to 23 percent, indecision down 4 points from 50 percent to 46 percent, and distrust rating up 9 points from 19 percent to 28 percent.
The poll occurred amid the high court's decision, through a vote of 10-4, to uphold the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States (US), saying the EDCA does not require ratification by the Senate as it is an executive agreement and not a treaty.
While the Philippine and US governments welcomed the decision, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, one of the petitioners, said it plans to file a motion for reconsideration before the SC.
Not one of the five national government officials included in this survey's performance and trust probes managed to obtain majority approval and trust ratings in January 2016.
Generally, the survey occurred amid many other factors which include: the start of the official election period on January 10, 2016 which saw, among others, the imposition of a gun ban; the delay in the printing of ballots for the May 2016 elections to February 8, 2016; the ongoing oral arguments before the SC concerning the two cases questioning the ruling of the Comelec disqualifying Senator Grace Poe from the May 2016 presidential elections; and, the Philippines' filing of a diplomatic protest against China's conduct of test flights to Kagitingan Reef.