MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte's approval and trust ratings rose to peak levels in the second quarter, as inflation held at its fastest in 5 years and as police removed loiterers from the streets, results of an opinion poll released on Friday showed.
Duterte's approval rating rose 8 points to 88 percent in the second quarter compared to the January to March period. His trust rating rose 9 points to 87 percent, according to a Pulse Asia poll of 1,800 adults.
It was Duterte's highest approval rating since he took office, after 86 percent in September 2016, based on past Pulse Asia releases. It was his second highest trust rating since 91 percent in July 2016, after he assumed the presidency.
Duterte's approval rating rose across all regions, posting the biggest gain in the National Capital Region where it rose 27 points to 83 percent. Approval was highest in Mindanao at 99 percent, where it rose 10 points.
The same trend manifested in his trust rating, which rose 23 points to 79 percent in the National Capital Region. In Mindanao, it rose 4 points to 94 percent.
The June 15 to 21 survey period followed release of inflation data, which showed an uptrend for the sixth straight month. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas raised its benchmark borrowing rate on June 20 for the second time this year to contain rising prices.
On June 19, the Supreme Court upheld the ouster of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, to whom he once said "I am now your enemy." Sereno was accused of failure to fully disclose her wealth, resulting in her removal through unprecedented "quo warranto" proceedings.
On June 14, the President said in a speech that people who were "idling around" could cause "potential trouble," sparking a police campaign to enforce city ordinances against loitering and going shirtless in the public.
The survey period missed the President's June 23 speech, wherein he referenced the biblical story of creation and said God must be "stupid" for allowing Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.
A Social Weather Stations survey, conducted on June 27 to 30, after his remarks on God, showed that Duterte's net satisfaction rating declined 11 points.
The timing of the 2 polls makes a "crucial difference," said Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda.
Both studies were released 2 weeks before the President delivers his third State of the Nation Address before a joint session of Congress.
Based on the Pulse Asia poll, Duterte is "back to what he had early on in his term," said the pollster's president, Ronnie Holmes.
"It's not a rare occasion. We've seen presidents in the past who after 2 years or within 2 years, the decline is followed by a recovery in terms of approval," he said.
A recovery means "there is appreciation of what is done at least within the quarter that was covered by the survey," he said.
Malacañang said Duterte views the survey results with "all humility."
“However, he is not leading the country for the sake of high or good ratings,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
ROBREDO ALSO GAINS
Vice President Leni Robredo's approval rating went up 7 points to 62 percent in the same second quarter poll by Pulse Asia. Her trust rating improved by 3 points to 53 percent.
Robredo's approval and trust ratings improved in all regions except the Visayas, where both scores declined by 9 points. She rated highest in the National Capital Region.
The Vice President "kept herself nationally prominent" with anti-poverty projects and public comments on national issues even if she does not hold a Cabinet portfolio, Holmes said.
"While she is not in the camp of the administration per se, she has been much more constructive about her statements," he said.
Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III's approval rating rose 11 points to 72 percent in the second quarter. His trust rating improved by 11 points to 64 percent.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's approval score climbed 6 points to 47 percent, while his trust rating rose 9 points to 45 percent.