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'Quiet worker' Robredo not so concerned with surveys, spokesman says

Vice President Leni Robredo addresses the nation from her office to offer anew additional recommendations to the country's COVID-19 response, and to send a message of unity amid this crisis. Charlie Villegas, OVP

MANILA— The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said the country's second highest official is not concerned with surveys, as she has been focused on getting things done.

This, after Robredo received a 57 percent approval rating in a new survey released by private pollster Pulse Asia on Monday. The survey also showed that 22 percent disapprove of the Vice President, while 21 percent were undecided. 

"Hindi masyado concerned si Vice President Leni sa survey. Para sa kanya, hindi siya pumasok sa pulitika, sa pagsisilbi sa publiko para maging popular," her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said on Teleradyo's Pasada Sais Trenta program. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had taunted the opposition leader over her rating while his boss, President Rodrigo Duterte, received 91 percent.

"Subukan po nating itigil ang pulitika, baka po tumaas nang mataas sa 50 percent ang trust rating at mataas pa po sa 57 percent ang performance rating," said Roque.

(Madam VP, it seems that my statement is right: The Filipinos do not like politicking during a pandemic. Let's try to refrain from politics, and perhaps your trust rating will go above 50 percent and your performance rating, above 57 percent.)

But Gutierrez said Robredo was not disappointed with the results, since it was consistent with her approval rating in the past four years. 

"I don't think nawalan siya ng tulog dito. I don't think pinag-isipan niya nang matagal, kumbaga it's something you accept as part of the things na nangyayari kung ikaw ay nagsisilbi sa publiko," he added. 

(I don't think she lost sleep over this. I don't think she thought it over for long, it's something you accept as part of things that happen when you are serving the public.)

He also said Robredo is thankful for still having the majority approval from the Filipino public. 

The Vice President's branding of leadership does not include bragging her office's achievements and self-promotion, contrary to the style of other public officials, Gutierrez also said. 

If the basis were such, he said, they would not really get a high approval rating because Robredo is a "quiet worker." 

He also attributed Robredo's 22-percent disapproval rating on consistent attacks of netizens and social media trolls since 2016, saying they have been discredited ever since she was elected vice president. 

Political analyst Ramon Casiple believes Robredo could have gotten a higher approval rating. 

"Nabababaan ako [sa approval rating niya] dahil in the first place, wala namang ginawa ang bise presidente na masama... kaya di ako makasigurado na negative o malaking porsyento ay negative ang tingin sa mga ginagawa niya," he said.

(I feel it's too low because in the first place, she has not done anything wrong... that's why I can't be sure that a large percent of people look negatively at what she is doing.)

He said he wondered why she got such figures, saying that she did not do anything wrong aside from trying to help the administration for its COVID-19 response. 

Gutierrez, however, said that the figures would serve as an inspiration to improve. 

"Inspirasyon ito na lalo pang pagbutihin pa ang mga trabahong kanyang ginagawa para mas madaming makaalam, mas madaming maabot ang Office of the Vice President at mas maraming makaalam sa kanyang magagawa," he said. 

(This will serve as an inspiration to do better and for more people to know and be reached by the Office of the President.)

In an interview on ANC, Monday, Pulse Asia President Ronnie Holmes said those who answered the survey may have attributed the decline in the economy more to the pandemic than to what the government did or did not do.

He also said that Duterte's move to impose a lockdown starting March 15 was seen as a positive move.

Pulse Asia not credible? 

Casiple, meanwhile, said he does not believe the results of the survey conducted by Pulse Asia. 

It is unusual, Casiple said, for people to be united under extraordinary circumstances, most especially under the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he knew there was a problem when the President's approval rating soared to more than 90 percent. 

"Mayroon tayong krisis, naga-aaway away, may eskandalo pa sa PhilHealth, eh mga usapin ito na makakaapekto sa popularity ng Presidente. 'Pag sinabi mong 90 percent, hindi tumalab 'yung mga agam-agam," he said. 

He also said it's hard to believe Pulse Asia itself, because of its credibility. 

"Naglalabas 'yan ng result tapos ang layo niya sa SWS, tapos sa iba pang nagsu-survey din... Kung may maglabas pa na ibang survey, ikumpara natin. 'Yan ang hinihintay ko," he said. 

But Pulse Asia's research director defended the survey, saying it was not commissioned. 

Dr. Ana Tabunda said they hold these approval surveys for public officials quarterly. Conducting the said survey itself has also been affected by the restrictions of the pandemic. 

"'Yong survey namin itatakbo namin 'to even whether subscribers or not. Committed kami ilabas ito every quarter, hindi lang namin nagawa nitong ECQ at MECQ. Ngayon lang kami naka-survey," Tabunda said. 

According to Tabunda, they were also "shocked" with the results of the survey but said the President's popularity might be the reason behind the almost-ceiling approval. 

"Totoo, kahit kami nagulat kami noong nakita namin (yung results," she said.