MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday said it was unfazed by the double-digit drop in the trust and approval ratings of President Rodrigo Duterte in the latest Pulse Asia survey, even as it suspected that the “single” issue on rice may have pulled down the chief executive’s numbers.
The Pulse Asia survey conducted last September 1-7 showed 75 percent of Filipinos approve of Duterte's performance, 13 points lower than last June's score of 88 which was his highest approval rating since he took office.
The same trend can be seen in Duterte's trust rating which dropped to 72 percent from the previous 87 percent.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte’s ratings, while suffering from double-digit drops, are still high when compared to other key government officials.
“The President rules because it is his constitutional duty. He doesn’t rule for survey results. Maraming beses na po niyang sinabi iyan (He has said it so many times). So we take note of the survey results but we are not affected by it because ang Presidente naman will do his best to discharge his duties as President and Commander in Chief,” Roque said in a Palace press briefing.
As he shrugged off the drop in the President’s ratings, Roque also hit National Food Authority (NFA) administrator Jason Aquino for supposedly mismanaging the affairs of the state grains agency.
He said the rice supply problem put the Duterte administration in a bad light and could be the reason for the drop in the President’s trust and approval ratings.
In the past, Duterte had defended Aquino amid his tiff with Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. over the mode of importation of rice.
“Why do I say these things about Jason? Kasi parang iyong single issue ng bigas, nakalimutan na ng tao iyong mga iba pang achievements sa administrasyon dahil malapit nga ito sa sikmura. So hindi natin maiiwasan iyong pagtaas ng presyo ng krudo, pero itong nangyari sa bigas dapat na iwasan ito,” Roque said.
(Why do I say these things about Jason? The single issue on rice has eclipsed the other achievements of the administration because this is a gut issue. We cannot control the rise of oil prices, but the rice supply problem could have been avoided.)
Roque has also said he would file charges against Aquino if no one else would in relation to the NFA’s usage of P5.1 billion subsidy from the national government to pay for maturing loans instead of allocating the funds for the food security program of the agency.
"He made a mess out of the rice market, he contributed to the problem of inflation. He should be held liable. If no one else files, I will," Roque told ANC when asked if he will recommend the filing of charges against the NFA chief.
"It doesn’t matter who he is. The fact is he played around with the commodity that is closest to our stomach. You don’t do that and he made such a big problem for the President," he added.