Analyst warns president, conserve political capital
MANILA - In President Rodrigo Duterte's case, it seems that the saying "all publicity is good publicity" proved true, as he got high approval and trust ratings despite controversies surrounding his administration.
"The president has been more active in terms of number of pronouncements on a day-to-day basis. If you track the appearance of the president, he does two speeches in a day in the course of the last three weeks,” said Pulse Asia President Ronald Holmes of the results of a survey conducted from September 25 to October 1.
This can be seen in a comparison with ratings garnered by the previous administration, which did not have as much exposure as Duterte.
Former President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay had "basically the same" approval and trust ratings, while there is a distance between the ratings of Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Duterte got trust and approval ratings of 86 percent, while Robredo got a trust rating of 65 percent, and an approval rating of 66 percent.
“You can attribute this largely to the exposure on the part of the president relative to the other top national officials,” said Holmes.
He added that the administration is still in a “honeymoon period,” and it is common for national leaders to have high ratings at this point.
According to political analyst Richard Heydarian, the public usually have a "honeymoon discount rate" for leaders early during their terms of office, which stems from their "yearning, if not desperation" for change.
"Marami sa ating kababayan, para sa kanila, ang ginagawa nila, 'Yes baka may imperfections si Pangulong Duterte, but at least siya ay man of action,'" Heydarian said.
However, he also urged Duterte to be careful in spending his political capital, as the only way he can go is down, given his "unprecedented" high ratings.
"Though very popular si Pangulong Duterte, hindi ibig sabihin na may blank check siya…Marami siyang political capital, so dapat gamitin niya sa tamang paraan at tamang panahon. Pwede niyang i-deploy ang kaniyang unprecedented political capital para sa tunay na reporma," he said.
This can be seen in the marginal dip of his public trust rating in the National Capital Region (NCR), which Holmes said was due to people being more observant of the president's work.
"From survey to survey, there's a shift from trust to indecision, that people are basically shifted to a wait-and-see attitude, trying to sense maybe some of the issues confronting the administration," he said. --From a report by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News