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'Pork' scam pulls Drilon approval ratings down – Pulse Asia


(Updated 2:50 p.m.) The pork barrel scam has adversely affected the public perception of Senate President Franklin Drilon's performance, but spared President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, who still enjoyed high ratings based on a recent Pulse Asia survey.

Although the survey, conducted from September 14 to 27, showed that one in two Filipinos (50 percent of respondents) approved of Drilon's work, it was a 12-percentage point decline from his 62 percent approval rating in June.

"It appears that the controversy surrounding the alleged misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) involving some lawmakers has adversely affected public perception of Senate President Drilon’s performance as he experiences a marked decline in his national approval rating,” Pulse Asia said in a media release Wednesday.

Drilon was dragged into the controversy after he admitted meeting businesswoman Janet Lim-Napoles, the alleged mastermind in the scam, at a party. He denied having any transactions with her.

Drilon was also criticized for supposedly dilly-dallying in issuing a subpoena requiring Napoles, currently detained over a separate case, to attend the investigation on the pork barrel scam being conducted by the blue ribbon committee. He initially refused to subpoena Napoles, noting the plunder complaint filed against her with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Drilon eventually signed the subpoena on October 21.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Drilon blamed a supposed media campaign against him during the past weeks for the drop in his approval rating.
 
“I am not surprised by the drop in my approval rating in the latest Pulse Asia survey since I have been the subject of a vicious media vilification campaign in the past weeks by people intent to muddle the issues behind this pork barrel scandal,” the Senate leader said.
 
He added that the campaign caused public anger to be diverted away from the “real culprits of the case.”

The privilege speech of Senator Jinggoy Estrada—where he bared that P50 million in additional fund was given to senators after the Senate impeachment court voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona last year—was delivered during the period of the Pulse Asia survey.

The overall approval and trust ratings of both the Senate and House of Representatives also dropped due to the pork barrel controversy.
 
“The controversy regarding the alleged misuse of the PDAF of several lawmakers appears to have adversely affected public opinion regarding the performance and trustworthiness of both the Senate and House of Representatives,” Pulse Asia said.
 
It said the overall approval rating of the Senate went down by 14 percentage points, from 53 percent in June to 39 in September, and as much as 15 percentage points for the House, from 52 percent in June to 37 in September.
 
In the same trend was the trust ratings of Senate and House which were down by 15 percentage points, from 51 percent in June to 36 in September, and 19 percentage points, from 53 in June to 34 in September, respectively.

PNoy, Binay

Pulse Asia said the public assessment of the performance of the country's top government officials remains basically unchanged during the period June to September 2013.

“Even the movement in President Aquino’s overall approval score (+6 percentage points) is considered marginal due to the survey’s overall error margin of +/- 3 percentage points),” it said.

Aquino received a 79 percent approval rating, which was six percentage point higher than his 73 percent rating in June, while Binay got 77 percent rating, a one-percentage point decline from his 78 percent approval rating in June.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.'s approval rating declined by one percentage point from 38 percent in June to 37 percent in September.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's approval ratings went up by five percentage point from 37 in June to 42 in September.

The other issues covered by the survey were the Zambonga City crisis, the filing of P61-million tax evasion case against Napoles and her husband, the resignation of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Nonnatus Rojas and deputy director Edmundo Arugay following remarks made by the President that two NBI officials tipped off Napoles about her arrest warrant, and the concrete blocks found in the disputed Panatag Shoal.

The nationwide survey is based on a sample of 1,200 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 3 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level.

People's confidence

Malacañang, meanwhile, said the results of the Pulse Asia survey reflect the Filipino people's unwavering confidence in Aquino and his reform agenda.

“(This) confidence has remained strong despite the attempts of those who oppose the President’s good governance and anti-corruption agenda to sow distrust and confusion,” said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a statement.

He said over the past weeks, "those being haunted by the increasing probability of being held to account for their crimes have employed a 'D.O.M.' strategy—Denying the facts, Obscuring the truth, and Misinforming the public—to turn public outrage away from themselves and to characterize the President in a negative light."

Lacierda said despite the efforts of these unnamed individuals, the people continue to trust the President. He added it is clear that those who are now being held to account for their role in the abuse of our national coffers are failing to confuse the public.

“Instead, the Filipino people continue to support the difficult reforms that the President has spearheaded. They know that the President remains sincere in his work: in his desire to uphold the truth, to uproot corruption, and to ensure that no one is left behind,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda also thanked the public “for their commitment to tread the straight path together with us. Their support has only strengthened our determination to pursue justice and truth, and hold accountable those who have wronged the nation.”— With a report from Andreo C. Calonzo/KBK/KG/RSJ, GMA News
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