MANILA - The word war over the Senate funds has proven to be a boon to the performance and trust ratings of re-electionist Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, according to a Pulse Asia executive.
Pulse Asia chief research fellow Ana Maria Tabunda said the Senate squabble erased the gains made by Senate President Juan Ponce after the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona last year while boosting the trust and performance ratings of Cayetano and Trillanes.
"Nag-gain kaunti silang dalawa ni Trillanes," she said in an interview with ABS-CBN's "Umagang Kay Ganda."
She added that Pulse Asia has embargoed the results of the individual senators' trust and performance ratings.
Enrile has been engaged in a word war with 4 other senators including Cayetano, Trillanes, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Pia Cayetano after he refused to give them additional funds from the Senate's savings. Cayetano has called for an independent audit on the Senate's savings and questioned Enrile's discretionary power over the funds.
The latest Pulse Asia survey, conducted January 19-30, 2013, ranked Cayetano 3rd among the list of senatorial candidates in the 2013 polls. The survey said 48.9% of Filipino voters would vote for Cayetano.
Trillanes also made it to the "Magic 12" with 41.1%, placing him at ranks 4-12 in the Pulse Asia survey.
Tabunda said the war over the Senate funds affected not just the senators but President Aquino.
"Nung nangyari yung impeachment sa Senado, tumaas yung rating ng Pangulo. Ngayon bumagsak. The gains in public trust after the impeachment nawala kasi nagkagulo sa body, yung Senate, na nagdulot ng gain," she said.
She added: "Bumalik siya sa performance and trust rating in May 2012 before the impeachment result."
The latest survey showed Aquino's performance rating dropping 12 percentage points to 66%, which is only 1 percentage point lower than his 67% approval rating in May 2012.
Enrile's approval rating of 46% in the latest Pulse Asia survey is actually lower than his approval rating in May 2012. The Senate President had an approval rating of 68% in the May 2012 survey while the Corona impeachment trial drew to a close.
Tabunda said that while a plurality still trust and approve of Enrile, the squabble had an effect on his ratings.
She also noted that the amount of the additional maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) funds given to each senator, at P1.6 million each, will not be easily forgotten. "Siguradong tumatak yun," she said.
She said officials could still improve their performance and trust ratings by showing the people their other accomplishments and drawing attention away from the squabble.
Tabunda, meanwhile, said she does not know if the ongoing tension between suspended Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia is having an effect on the ratings of Aquino and Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
Aquino ordered Garcia's suspension over a graft case while Binay has backed Garcia's position that the Malacañang order is politically motivated.
Tabunda said one finding in the latest survey is that the fill rate in the Visayas region for the senatorial pre-election surveys is going down.
"We don't know if that had an effect because we did not have a direct question but what we saw is bagsak ang fill rate sa Visayas, sa Cebu, sa Region 7," she said.
She said respondents used to choose 10 candidates as their choices for the senatorial race. "Now, it is 7," she said.