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Pulse Asia: Arroyo most distrusted among top govt officials

MANILA, Philippines - President Arroyo is turning out to be the most publicly distrusted official while Vice President Manuel “Noli" de Castro Jr is most trusted, pollster Pulse Asia said Monday. Pulse Asia’s survey conducted last May showed that 46 percent of Filipinos are critical of President Gloria Arroyo’s work while 53 percent are most appreciative of De Castro’s performance. “(Vice President) De Castro enjoys the highest approval ratings (41% to 63%) while President Arroyo posts the highest disapproval ratings (43% to 60%) in all geographic areas and socio-economic classes," it said on its Web site. “Public trust is the predominant sentiment only in the case of Vice-President De Castro while public distrust is most pronounced in the case of President Arroyo; big pluralities of Filipinos cannot say if they trust or distrust Senate President Enrile, House Speaker Nograles, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno," it added. It said that in May 2009, Filipinos are most appreciative of the performance of Vice-President De Castro (53 percent) and most critical of the work done by President Arroyo (46 percent). Relatively low public approval for President Arroyo (26 percent) remained much the same across most of the past four years; an even lower level of public approval registers for House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. (20 percent), currently the least approved of among the country’s top public officials, it added. On the other hand, vacillation or indecision is the lead plurality sentiment among those rating the performance of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (40 percent), Nograles (42 percent) and Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno (38 percent). Pulse Asia also noted that while there are no significant changes in the overall performance ratings of these leading government officials between February and May 2009, there is a slight decline in the overall level of public appreciation (-5 percentage points) and a corresponding increase in the level of public indecision toward the performance of Nograles. The survey showed that between February and March 2009, public disapproval for presidential performance increased in the Visayas (+10 percentage points) and Class ABC (+16 percentage points). Presidential indecision ratings declined in the best-off Class ABC (-10 percentage points). In the case of De Castro’s ratings, the most marked movement during this period is the 8-percentage point increase in his disapproval ratings in the Visayas (+8 percentage points). On the ratings of Enrile, approval figures dropped (-17 percentage points) while disapproval ratings increased (+11 percentage points) in the Visayas. “There is also a decrease (-13 percentage points) in the Senate President’s disapproval ratings in Metro Manila," Pulse Asia said. As for Nograles, he posted a lower approval rating and a higher indecision rating in May 2009 than in February 2009 (15 percent versus 31 percent and 41 percent versus 31 percent, respectively). A 12-percentage point increase in the House Speaker’s indecision ratings may also be noted in the poorest Class E, Pulse Asia said. In the case of Chief Justice Puno, he enjoyed improvements in his approval ratings in Mindanao and Class E (+12 percentage points) while public ambivalence toward his work became more pronounced in Metro Manila (+12 percentage points) but was less manifest in the Visayas (-10 percentage points). There was also an increase (-12 percentage points) in the disapproval ratings of Chief Justice Puno in the Visayas. Pulse Asia’s survey showed De Castro gained the highest overall trust rating (48 percent) among the country’s top government officials. “In contrast, it is President Arroyo who scores the highest disapproval and distrust ratings (48 percent and 46 percent, respectively)," it said. Conversely, Nograles obtained the lowest overall trust rating (17 percent) while De Castro had the lowest overall distrust score (22 percent). Additionally, indecision is the plurality sentiment on the matter of trusting or distrusting Senate President Enrile (42 percent), Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno (43 percent), and House Speaker Nograles (44 percent). “For the most part, the overall trust ratings of these top government officials remain constant between February and May 2009. Nonetheless, there is a marginal drop (-4 percentage points) in the overall trust ratings of Vice-President De Castro and House Speaker Nograles and a slight increase in the overall level of public ambivalence toward the House Speaker (+5 percentage points)," Pulse Asia said. The survey also showed de Castro is the most trusted top national government official across geographic areas and socio-economic groupings (38 percent to 57 percent) while President Arroyo is the most distrusted in most of these sub-groupings (42 percent to 67 percent). Mrs. Arroyo and House Speaker Nograles obtained nearly the same distrust ratings in the rest of Luzon (43 percent versus 39 percent), Pulse Asia said. Between February and May 2009, President Arroyo’s distrust ratings in Class ABC and the Visayas went up by 12 and 13 percentage points, respectively. Meanwhile, de Castro’s indecision ratings dropped (-13 percentage points) and his distrust ratings increased (+18 percentage points) in the Visayas. Enrile’s trust ratings declined in Class ABC and the Visayas (-10 and -14 percentage points, respectively) while public indecision was more pronounced (+11 percentage points) in the Visayas between February and May 2009. In the case of Nograles, he scored a lower trust rating in the Visayas (10 percent versus 20 percent) while he obtains a higher indecision rating from those in Class E (44 percent versus 34 percent) in May 2009 than February 2009. Nograles, however, brushed off the survey results, saying his low ratings did not come from his constituents in Davao City who voted for him nor from congressmen who placed him as Speaker of the House. "What can I say? That's the survey. I can only hope that the people who elected me in my district in Davao City still trust me and that the congressmen who elected me as their Speaker still trust me too," he said in a text message to reporters. As for Chief Justice Puno, there was an increase in his trust ratings in Mindanao (+11 percentage points) but a drop was recorded in Class ABC (-11 percentage points). Also, public ambivalence on the matter of trusting or distrusting the Supreme Court Chief Justice became more manifest (+13 percentage points) in Metro Manila between February and May 2009 while there is an increase in distrust ratings in Class ABC (+12 percentage points). Field work for the survey was conducted May 4 to 17, using face-to-face interviews. Among the developments that dominated the news headlines prior to and during the conduct of the interviews for this survey were: the global spread of the AH1N1 virus; the declaration of additional winners in the May 2007 party-list elections; the disqualification of all poll automation bidders which fueled talks about a no-election scenario next year; the continued charter change discussions and in particular, House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ declaration that a constitutional convention would be convened by August 2009; the Senate investigation into various issues most especially the ethics case against Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr.; the deaths and destruction of properties from the typhoons that hit the Philippines recently; the tragedy that hit the Failon family and the ensuing verbal tussles involving the Philippine National Political (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and Department of Justice (DOJ) concerning the investigation of the case; the arrest of Engr. Rodolfo Lozada, Jr. on perjury charges; the latest boxing victory of Manny Pacquiao and speculations as regards his political plans for May 2010; and the drop in Meralco power rates and the fluctuating prices of diesel and gasoline. - GMANews.TV