MANILA (UPDATED/CORRECTED) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday received encouragement from former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Arrroyo said she's done worse, ratings-wise, compared to the current Chief Executive.
"During my term, I too suffered even more serious problems with my ratings, precipitated by the same kind of vicious opposition now working to bring down President Duterte," she said in a statement.
"I responded by focusing instead on performance, performance, performance. It was my intention to leave a real legacy of achievement, because it was only the judgment of history that mattered to me," said the Pampanga representative.
Duterte's net satisfaction rating dropped to a "good" 48 from a "very good" 66, according to the SWS survey conducted from September 23 to 27.
Based on data from the same polling body, Arroyo's average net satisfaction rating for her 9 years in office was -7 (not -9 as we initially reported.--Eds). Her lowest was -53 in March 2010, while the highest was +30 in March 2004.
According to SWS President Mahar Mangahas, Arroyo did not have any honeymoon period, unlike the other presidents since former dictator Ferdinand Marcos' ouster from power.
Arroyo ascended to the presidency in 2001 after former President Joseph Estrada stepped down following calls for his resignation regarding allegations he received millions in kickback from illegal numbers game, jueteng. She was elected for another term in 2004 but faced accusations of poll rigging.
For Arroyo, the ratings plunge was but a blip and should not worry Duterte that much.
"After a whole year of stratospheric ratings, the President should not be unduly worried by the drop in his ratings for the 3rd quarter of the year. This is a blip, especially because the survey was taken at the height of the controversy over so-called EJK's in the war against drugs," she said.
Arroyo, whose survey ratings plunged to negative territory for much of her 9 year term after the Hello Garci scandal of 2005, said the rise and drop in a president's approval ratings are "bound to happen in the course of his/her term."
"It is part of the territory. It reflects the pulse of the people at a particular time. A drop though does not mean erosion of public support but merely a sentiment on particular policies," she said.
Arroyo reminded Duterte that "the job of a president is not to make popular decisions" but to "make decisions for the greater good though unpopular."
"I had to endure this process myself when I made tough and unpopular decisions that ultimately redounded to the common good," she said.
Duterte, she added, has started several "historic" initiatives, which will comprise his "real legacy."
Arroyo cited Duterte's initiatives on comprehensive tax reform, infrastructure build-out, Charter change, and securing and rebuilding Marawi city.
"All of them can produce major changes early enough to improve his ratings by early next year," she said.