MANILA - None of the country's top national officials got majority support ratings -- with President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay still reeling from the Mamasapano incident and the Makati City Hall controversies, respectively, based on a March 1-7 Pulse Asia survey.
With just 3 points separating them amid a 3% margin of error, Binay and Senate President Franklin Drilon are statistically tied as the most trusted and most approved among the top 5 national officials based on the latest Pulse Asia survey.
According to Pulse Asia research director Ana Tabunda, except for the President and the Vice President, the other national officials polled have not had majority ratings for some time.
"People are not familiar with their functions. It's easier to understand what the President and Vice President does than say, what CJ (Chief Justice) does or Speaker of the House," she explained.
"None of them is getting majority approval and trust because VP slid down in November and ratings of President dropped this quarter. The VP isn't doing worse than the President, but he comes from much higher level. That's why people are now noticing the marginally higher ratings of the Senate President," she said.
Tabunda, however, would not say yet if Drilon would be a viable candidate for higher office in 2016. Drilon is among the topnotchers in the senatorial survey.
"That depends on what he will do now and next rounds data not showing any such indication he will do much better. Definitely he's making it in the senatorial (list)."
In a statement, Drilon said, "I will continue to work hard in the Senate, and I will do all that I can to prove to our Filipino public, that indeed, I value and deserve the trust that they give my office."
"Surveys are reflections of public perceptions as they were during that period when it was conducted. If anything, it just reinforces my belief that the only way to gain public trust and approval is to actually do one's duties as a public servant, and serve and uplift the people," he concluded.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) president and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco said, "The VP will just continue what he loves doing, which is helping the poor, delivering basic social services, listening to their problems, working for the housing sector and the OFWs."
'PNOY DOING WORSE THAN PREDECESSORS'
Tabunda said indecision with regard to the President and Vice President comes from the people's monitoring of their work, while indecision for the other officials comes from lack of information about their work.
Tabunda said Aquino is doing worse than his two immediate predecessors at their lowest points in their terms.
"If we compare to the two other presidents, we have monitored drop of 21 points and 20 points is largest drop in ratings of President in single quarter. For two former presidents, they dropped first 14 points then dropped again in following quarter. It wasn't a single drop in one quarter... Worse than Garci for GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) and Erap (Joseph Estrada) impeachment. That tells you how people regard death -- there are 44 deaths here. It shows they want their leaders to show compassion particularly in such. It's about the issue," she explained.
Aquino already dropped points over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which was struck down as unconstitutional last year.
Tabunda, meanwhile, does not have data as to whether Aquino's unpopularity will diminish his endorsement powers for 2016.
She noted that the endorsement power of a person depends on his affiliation for the person he or she is endorsing. People have to believe why the endorser is endorsing the endorsee.
Aquino experienced significant changes in his performance and trust ratings between November 2014 and March 2015 while the other top government officials registered minimal movements in their national ratings, save for the 8-percentage point decline in the national approval score of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
As is the case with the top government officials, none of the key government institutions managed to score a majority approval rating in the March 2015 survey.
Virtually the same approval and indecision ratings were posted by the Senate (38% versus 41%), the House of Representatives (34% versus 42%), and the Supreme Court (45% versus 39%) at the national level. These figures do not differ significantly from those obtained by these institutions four months ago.
President Aquino registered essentially the same approval and indecision ratings (38% versus 39%) as well as trust and indecision figures (36% versus 37%). Appreciation and trust were the plurality sentiments toward Binay (46% and 42%, respectively). In the case of Drilon, he enjoyed a near majority approval score (49%) but obtained almost the same trust and indecision ratings (44% versus 38%).
Meanwhile, near to small majorities expressed ambivalence toward the performance and trustworthiness of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (both at 53%) and Sereno (48% and 49%, respectively).
The disapproval ratings of these government officials range from 12% for Drilon to 23% for Aquino and Binay. Likewise, levels of distrust in them range from 18% for the Senate President to 27% for the President and the Vice President.