MANILA - The Supreme Court's dismissal of plunder charges against former President Gloria Arroyo, which led to her release from detention this week, was likely unpopular, a top pollster said Saturday.
Social Weather Stations President Mahar Mangahas said public opinion has been mostly unfavorable towards 69-year-old Arroyo, whose nine-year-long rule was dodged by persistent allegations of corruption and election fraud.
Mangahas, in an opinion piece published on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, noted that a recent SWS survey showed that there was "high public approval" of Arroyo's detention.
"The history of public opinion about GMA (Arroyo) does not suggest that the recent Supreme Court action to release her was popular. SWS will examine this in its next regular survey," Mangahas said.
Voting 11-4 on Tuesday, the high tribunal ruled that there was no sufficient evidence to link Arroyo to the alleged misuse of P366 million in "intelligence funds" of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), the state-run lottery.
Mangahas cited SWS polls which showed 66 percent of respondents saying they had little trust in the Pampanga congresswoman while another 57 percent said the government treated her fairly.
Another poll showed 58 percent wanted Arroyo detained in a regular prison instead of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
Even after she stepped down from office, Arroyo suffered from
consistently "bad" to "very bad," Mangahas said, citing surveys from 2010 up to this year.