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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM THE INQUIRER

EDITORIAL: 'SUPERMAJORITY'
[To hear the new leaders of the House and the Senate announce to the world that they will vote for Duterte’s choices, and then to hear them trumpet 'supermajorities' as though these were an unalloyed good, is to see cracks forming on a founding, constitutional principle.]


JUNE 10 -'Super majority' in House backs Duterte agenda  The speed with which the national political landscape has shifted, since the election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as president, has been dizzying. The use of the earthquake analogy is appropriate; in the House of Representatives and, to a lesser extent, in the Senate, the change has been seismic. Or, to change metaphors: The rapid ripening of the balimbing or star fruit in the political orchard has been one for the farmer’s almanac. The President-elect joined the PDP-Laban only recently; on May 9, only three of its candidates for Congress won. But a month after the elections, PDP-Laban is set to become the new majority, not only in the House but also in the Senate. The shifting of alliances in the House will not look out of place in any episode of “Game of Thrones.” From a tiny base of three, Representative-elect Pantaleon Alvarez was able to grow his support to about three-fourths of the entire chamber—in part because as a longtime friend he is Duterte’s choice as speaker, in part because of savvy decision-making and alliance-building. Alvarez reached out to the controversial but politically adept Rodolfo Fariñas, reelected to his seat in the first district of Ilocos Norte, to offer him the post of majority leader. The majority-in-the-making allowed some just-elected or reelected congresspersons to join the coalition without leaving their parties, while encouraging others to join PDP-Laban. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Being worthy of liberty


JUNE 12 --
A year and a day ago today, on the eve of the 117th Philippine Independence Day, Lea Salonga tweeted a question about freedom: “Our country is not yet debt-free, poverty-free, crime-free or corruption-free. So what are we free from exactly and why do we celebrate it?” It was a reflective, rhetorical question, meant to prod people to pause and think. Salonga, one of the country’s most talented, articulate and intelligent artists, was apparently doing the same—spending the day giving thought to the question of what really constitutes freedom for a country that, while now free of colonial enslavement, is beset by modern challenges that still chain its people to hardships and interfere with their ability to chart their own collective destiny. What, indeed, is freedom in today’s context? One never got a good answer. Moments after the tweet, social media exploded and Salonga was widely bashed for, among other things, allegedly being unfair to her country by singling it out when no other nation in the world is ever completely free of crime, corruption and the other social ills she mentioned; supposedly disrespecting the heroes who died to obtain Philippine independence from Spain in 1896, the historic occasion formally celebrated on June 12; and generally being a party pooper, raising uncomfortable questions when many of her countrymen, or those on social media at least, were in the mood to banner their patriotism by posting flag memes. A year later, one can view this episode as a harbinger of sorts. The election frenzy that gripped the nation a few months down the road would not only replicate the uproar over the Salonga tweet but also render it on steroids—the rhetoric becoming frighteningly threatening, absolutist, and, worst of all, often fact-free. The weeks and months leading to the May 2016 elections will be remembered for the strange new strain of virulent discourse that seemed to have infected the interaction of Filipinos online, as the debate over which candidates were best fit to lead the nation degenerated into an orgy of name-calling, systematic trolling, fake news, and even outright warnings of rape and murder. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Fear of trouble


JUNE 8 -U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and China’s Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department, Central Military Commission, Adm. Sun Jianguo AP The Asia Security Summit—also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, held over the weekend in Singapore—centered expectedly on the simmering maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It was the first time for the annual security forum to convene since China began significantly expanding its foothold on parts of the Spratlys by reclaiming land and establishing military bases; the discussions were intense and occasionally dramatic. Beijing had learned how to make its case heard in the forum; instead of offering mere tough talk, this time it again sent a very senior military officer who did not only draw lines in the geopolitical sand but also displayed a gift for repartee. On Friday, the first day of the forum, the American defense secretary, Ash Carter, aired a warning. “China’s actions in the South China Sea are isolating it at a time when the entire region is coming together and networking. Unfortunately, if these actions continue, China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”  When it was his turn on Sunday, Adm. Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, responded to Carter in some style. “We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future. Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.” But the remark of Sun’s that captured international headlines was less philosophical in tone. “We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” he had also said. “China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement upon its sovereignty and security interests or stay indifferent to the irresponsible behavior of some countries in and around the South China Sea.” READ MORE...

ALSO:  By Gene Lacsa Pilapil - Democracy in the time of Noy Aquino
[While Duterte’s victory was far from inevitable at that time, it was Mr. Aquino’s failure to deepen the roots of Philippine democracy that made it more vulnerable to the ferocity of the coming authoritarian storm.]


JUNE 10 -The concept of democratic deepening, with its corollary concepts of institution-building and democratic leadership, may help in assessing what went wrong with Philippine democracy under President Aquino that facilitated the triumph of authoritarian candidate Rodrigo Duterte. Democratic deepening is the process of making democracy more democratic. If democratic consolidation happens when elections become the only game in town for relevant political players who can end democracy, democratic deepening is when the game is expanded to involve a far broader set of political and civil society actors (for example, more nontraditional political parties can now meaningfully participate in elections). It is also when the rules of the game involve not only elections but also, among others, protection of political rights and civil liberties not directly related to elections (for example, increased accountability of government officials, military and police to the public). Institution-building involves the reform and strengthening of political institutions such as the bureaucracy, legislature, political parties, electoral system, courts and constitutional bodies that make democratic deepening possible. Democratic leadership emphasizes the importance of actors. Since political institutions are not strengthened by accident, democratic deepening also relies on the skills, intelligence, charisma and commitment of political leaders in improving the quality of their democracies. In terms of preventing democratic breakdown, democratic deepening allows democracy to sink deeper roots (via more democratic political culture, inclusive political participation and effective state institutions) to better weather the storms of economic and political crises and of authoritarian challenges that may arise. That democratic consolidation was reachieved under Mr. Aquino has already been argued. But democratic deepening was not as successful under him. Far from it. For most of Mr. Aquino’s important institution-building reforms either got stuck in a Malacañang office or, without his leadership, were allowed to get lost in the labyrinthine halls of Congress. The most dramatic example is the freedom of information bill, the legislation tailor-made for democratic deepening. It would have institutionalized Mr. Aquino’s personal anticorruption drive by legally empowering citizens in exposing government shenanigans through the increased access to information—transparency, accountability, citizens’ participation, empowerment and anticorruption all rolled into one great bill. READ MORE...

ALSO: By Mahar Mangahas - Baseline trust ratings of Duterte and Robredo


JUNE 11 -In the most recent SWS survey on trust in political personalities, done on May 1-3, 2016, just before the elections, 54 percent of Filipino adults had much trust, and 28 percent of them had little trust, in presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. (The remainder from 100 percent are those not sure if they trust or distrust the person. This answer is offered up-front in the survey question.)
Subtracting the distrust from the trust gives a net trust rating of +26, which SWS calls Moderate (from +10 to +29). This is Duterte’s baseline trust rating, just before being elected. In the same survey, 61 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in vice-presidential (VP) candidate Leonor Robredo. This puts Robredo’s baseline net trust rating at +45 (correctly rounded; such discrepancies in this column are simple rounding errors), which SWS calls Good (from +30 to +49). The convincing victory of Duterte and the very close race for vice president were both anticipated by the voting intentions found by the survey. The survey questions for trusting and for voting for public figures are different. Trusting, unlike voting, does not involve making a preference over other personalities. The history of winning candidates’ trust ratings. In survey history, Duterte is the only presidential candidate with a merely Moderate trust rating at election time. Six years ago, in the SWS survey of April 16-19, 2010, those with much trust in presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino were 74 percent, while those with little trust in him were 11 percent, for a net trust rating of +64, or Very Good (from +50 to +69). It is the highest preelection trust in a presidential candidate in the SWS archive. Here are findings from earlier presidential election seasons: on April 10-17, 2004, 56 percent had much trust, and 23 percent had little trust, in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, for a Good net rating of +34; on April 17-23, 1998, 56 percent had much trust, and 21 percent had little trust, in Joseph Estrada, for a Good net rating of +35; on March 25-April 10, 1992, 49 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in Fidel Ramos, for a Good net rating of +32. READ MORE...


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EDITORIAL: ‘Supermajority’


'Super majority' in House backs Duterte agenda

MANILA, JUNE 13, 2016 (INQUIRER) @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:48 AM June 10th, 2016 - The speed with which the national political landscape has shifted, since the election of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as president, has been dizzying.

The use of the earthquake analogy is appropriate; in the House of Representatives and, to a lesser extent, in the Senate, the change has been seismic.

Or, to change metaphors: The rapid ripening of the balimbing or star fruit in the political orchard has been one for the farmer’s almanac. The President-elect joined the PDP-Laban only recently; on May 9, only three of its candidates for Congress won. But a month after the elections, PDP-Laban is set to become the new majority, not only in the House but also in the Senate.

The shifting of alliances in the House will not look out of place in any episode of “Game of Thrones.” From a tiny base of three, Representative-elect Pantaleon Alvarez was able to grow his support to about three-fourths of the entire chamber—in part because as a longtime friend he is Duterte’s choice as speaker, in part because of savvy decision-making and alliance-building.

Alvarez reached out to the controversial but politically adept Rodolfo Fariñas, reelected to his seat in the first district of Ilocos Norte, to offer him the post of majority leader. The majority-in-the-making allowed some just-elected or reelected congresspersons to join the coalition without leaving their parties, while encouraging others to join PDP-Laban.

READ MORE...

The new majority also worked to ensure that Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of the Liberal Party would find himself not in the minority (as he had originally declared) but as part of the ruling coalition; this is a key development, as Belmonte is one of the country’s most influential politicians.

He was thrice elected speaker, remains the dominant political force in the country’s richest city, and played an instrumental role in the victorious campaign of Vice President-elect Leni Robredo.

SENATE

The maneuvering in the 24-person Senate was less dramatic, but no less consequential. At least four members had a real chance at forging a new majority and becoming Senate president: Senate President Franklin Drilon, and Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Vicente Sotto III. This week, though, Pimentel, the PDP-Laban president, was able to reach an agreement with two of the other contenders; of particular note, Drilon was able to bring the LP and its allies into the new coalition, a development which Pimentel, who has enjoyed good relations with the LP, must have welcomed.

Aside from the speed of the shift, the size of the change is also noteworthy. Those speaking for the new majority in the 17th Congress talk of a “supermajority.” It is less accurate to use this term when it comes to the Senate; as of today, Pimentel seems to have the support of 17 senators a month and a half before the actual vote on July 25.

That’s four more than necessary to elect a new Senate president, but that also means that a not-inconsiderable number of seven senators makes up the minority. The shift in loyalty of another bloc of five or six senators can change the complexion of the Senate completely.

In the House, however, the use of the term is precise. Very many of the 290 or so members will form part of a true supermajority. Everyone hastens to add that the House will not be a rubber stamp of the Duterte administration, but with margins like these, we can expect the key legislation that it will make a priority, including the reimposition of the death penalty and the revision or amendment of the Constitution, to pass readily.

But all this talk of a supermajority sharpens the sense that a fundamental principle of our constitutional government is at risk: The crucial importance of the separation of powers between three branches of government is one of the essential lessons we have learned from our bitter experiment with martial rule.

To hear the new leaders of the House and the Senate announce to the world that they will vote for Duterte’s choices, and then to hear them trumpet supermajorities as though these were an unalloyed good, is to see cracks forming on a founding, constitutional principle.


EDITORIAL - Being worthy of liberty SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:24 AM June 12th, 2016


A year and a day ago today, on the eve of the 117th Philippine Independence Day, Lea Salonga tweeted a question about freedom: “Our country is not yet debt-free, poverty-free, crime-free or corruption-free. So what are we free from exactly and why do we celebrate it?”

It was a reflective, rhetorical question, meant to prod people to pause and think. Salonga, one of the country’s most talented, articulate and intelligent artists, was apparently doing the same—spending the day giving thought to the question of what really constitutes freedom for a country that, while now free of colonial enslavement, is beset by modern challenges that still chain its people to hardships and interfere with their ability to chart their own collective destiny. What, indeed, is freedom in today’s context?

One never got a good answer. Moments after the tweet, social media exploded and Salonga was widely bashed for, among other things, allegedly being unfair to her country by singling it out when no other nation in the world is ever completely free of crime, corruption and the other social ills she mentioned; supposedly disrespecting the heroes who died to obtain Philippine independence from Spain in 1896, the historic occasion formally celebrated on June 12; and generally being a party pooper, raising uncomfortable questions when many of her countrymen, or those on social media at least, were in the mood to banner their patriotism by posting flag memes.

A year later, one can view this episode as a harbinger of sorts. The election frenzy that gripped the nation a few months down the road would not only replicate the uproar over the Salonga tweet but also render it on steroids—the rhetoric becoming frighteningly threatening, absolutist, and, worst of all, often fact-free. The weeks and months leading to the May 2016 elections will be remembered for the strange new strain of virulent discourse that seemed to have infected the interaction of Filipinos online, as the debate over which candidates were best fit to lead the nation degenerated into an orgy of name-calling, systematic trolling, fake news, and even outright warnings of rape and murder.

READ MORE...

The effect of such agitated, extremist talk is to sideline any attempt at keeping issues in sober, thoughtful perspective. The mood was angry, confrontational, and in its wake the grotesqueries of the campaign—say, the cussing ad nauseam and call for liquidating “criminals” without trial by then candidate and now President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, or the public dare by his cocandidate Mar Roxas to a slapping contest—became the new normal.

While the apparently organized trolling mania of the elections has died down a bit, that historic turn for the worse in terms of less open, welcoming discourse is evident in the worrisome news that a number of Facebook posts critical of the incoming administration’s moves and statements so far were arbitrarily taken down at the behest of unknown complainants.

So to Salonga’s list of national afflictions, she can add small-minded thinking—a dangerous condition that goads people to declare that they wouldn’t mind curtailments on the freedoms they currently enjoy, such as the fundamental right to due process, in the name of cleaning the streets of lowlifes (or, who knows, pesky neighbors).

Freedoms, mind, that were won for them not only by 19th-century Filipino revolutionaries but, closer to this period but scrubbed from memory, the martyrs of martial law, whose heroism against the brutality of the Marcos dictatorship led to the strengthening of the Bill of Rights and greater constitutional safeguards against the resurgence of tyrannical rule.

“Our liberty will not be secured at the sword’s point,” Rizal wrote. “We must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it.” People who refuse to engage with the hard questions and prefer instead to stay on the cheery surface of things; who suppress dissent, forget history and dismiss appeals to the rule of law as weakness; who see no irony in publicly pining for a return to an age of censorship and one-man rule on a media platform that allows them free expression but would, in fact, be the first to be outlawed in that setup; who are so cavalier, in other words, about their freedoms as to want to give these up just like that… Such people are unworthy of that great gift of liberty.

Sacrifice and vigilance are the underpinnings of any day celebrating independence. Are we keeping our part of the bargain?


EDITORIAL: Fear of trouble SHARES: 317 VIEW COMMENTS @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
01:02 AM June 8th, 2016


U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and China’s Deputy Chief, Joint Staff Department, Central Military Commission, Adm. Sun Jianguo AP

The Asia Security Summit—also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, held over the weekend in Singapore—centered expectedly on the simmering maritime and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. It was the first time for the annual security forum to convene since China began significantly expanding its foothold on parts of the Spratlys by reclaiming land and establishing military bases; the discussions were intense and occasionally dramatic.

Beijing had learned how to make its case heard in the forum; instead of offering mere tough talk, this time it again sent a very senior military officer who did not only draw lines in the geopolitical sand but also displayed a gift for repartee.

On Friday, the first day of the forum, the American defense secretary, Ash Carter, aired a warning. “China’s actions in the South China Sea are isolating it at a time when the entire region is coming together and networking. Unfortunately, if these actions continue, China could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation.”

When it was his turn on Sunday, Adm. Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, responded to Carter in some style.

“We were not isolated in the past, we are not isolated now and we will not be isolated in the future. Actually I am worried that some people and countries are still looking at China with the Cold War mentality and prejudice. They may build a wall in their minds and end up isolating themselves.”

But the remark of Sun’s that captured international headlines was less philosophical in tone. “We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble,” he had also said. “China will not bear the consequences, nor will it allow any infringement upon its sovereignty and security interests or stay indifferent to the irresponsible behavior of some countries in and around the South China Sea.”

READ MORE...

It is true that, on the South China Sea issue, Beijing is not isolated internationally—but Chinese support comes from countries in Africa or Central Asia with which it has robust trade or provides aid to, none of which has any credibility to speak of the use of shipping routes or fishing grounds in the South China Sea. On the other hand, aside from rival claims of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines, regional powers have called China out for its aggressive expansionist policy. At the forum, the defense chiefs of the United States and India, together with Canada, Britain and France, all called on China to respect freedom of navigation in the area. The second stage of militarization of the outposts in the Spratlys and also the Paracel Islands is rightly seen as a threat to this freedom.

By “irresponsible behavior of some countries,” Admiral Sun was referring to the United States, which has dispatched warships to the area in so-called freedom of navigation operation (Fonop), and also to the Philippines, whose case before the arbitral tribunal in The Hague has deeply concerned the Chinese government.

“On one hand, they implement the so-called freedom of navigation program by openly showing military muscles in the South China Sea,” Sun said. “On the other hand, they support allies confronting China, forcing China to accept and honor the arbitration award. China firmly opposes such behavior.”

The most worrying aspect of Sun’s red line remarks is the development of the notion of “trouble.” Last October, for instance, in the aftermath of the first American Fonop, Beijing warned the United States to “not act blindly or make trouble out of nothing.” Sun’s repeated use of the idea on Sunday—“We do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble”—can be understood as a ratcheting of the language of resolve.

Before, the smaller countries in the region were concerned with Beijing’s redefinition of making trouble; it was always some other country’s action, and never China’s. Beijing, for instance, could claim that its new military bases were not expressions of an aggressive policy, and yet it accuses Manila of bullying conduct merely because it filed a lawsuit. Sun’s remarks, however, shift the focus of concern to Beijing’s readiness to meet counter-responses from claimant countries or their allies: “We have no fear of trouble.”

That is exactly what peace-loving, law-abiding countries are afraid of.



COMMENTARY: Democracy in the time of Aquino SHARES: 541 VIEW COMMENTS By: Gene Lacza Pilapil @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:34 AM June 10th, 2016


The concept of democratic deepening, with its corollary concepts of institution-building and democratic leadership, may help in assessing what went wrong with Philippine democracy under President Aquino that facilitated the triumph of authoritarian candidate Rodrigo Duterte.

Democratic deepening is the process of making democracy more democratic. If democratic consolidation happens when elections become the only game in town for relevant political players who can end democracy, democratic deepening is when the game is expanded to involve a far broader set of political and civil society actors (for example, more nontraditional political parties can now meaningfully participate in elections).

It is also when the rules of the game involve not only elections but also, among others, protection of political rights and civil liberties not directly related to elections (for example, increased accountability of government officials, military and police to the public).

Institution-building involves the reform and strengthening of political institutions such as the bureaucracy, legislature, political parties, electoral system, courts and constitutional bodies that make democratic deepening possible.

Democratic leadership emphasizes the importance of actors. Since political institutions are not strengthened by accident, democratic deepening also relies on the skills, intelligence, charisma and commitment of political leaders in improving the quality of their democracies.

In terms of preventing democratic breakdown, democratic deepening allows democracy to sink deeper roots (via more democratic political culture, inclusive political participation and effective state institutions) to better weather the storms of economic and political crises and of authoritarian challenges that may arise.

That democratic consolidation was reachieved under Mr. Aquino has already been argued. But democratic deepening was not as successful under him. Far from it.

For most of Mr. Aquino’s important institution-building reforms either got stuck in a Malacañang office or, without his leadership, were allowed to get lost in the labyrinthine halls of Congress.

The most dramatic example is the freedom of information bill, the legislation tailor-made for democratic deepening. It would have institutionalized Mr. Aquino’s personal anticorruption drive by legally empowering citizens in exposing government shenanigans through the increased access to information—transparency, accountability, citizens’ participation, empowerment and anticorruption all rolled into one great bill.

READ MORE...

But the President simply dribbled it in Malacañang and then passed the ball to Congress where the House dribbled it to death in two Congresses, betraying both his campaign promise and the array of civil society groups that heroically tried to push the bill into law.

Not only did Mr. Aquino’s weak democratic leadership fail to engage in institution-building; some of his actions also resulted in the serious damage of institutions.

The most disastrous example is his mishandling of the Philippine National Police. From Rico Puno to Alan Purisima, Mr. Aquino bungled the management of the police as he gave priority to friendship over professionalism, which undermined police reform, performance, image, discipline and morale. This culminated in the Mamasapano tragedy where he bypassed his own interior secretary and the PNP chain of command to deal with the Ombudsman-suspended Purisima on an ill-conceived mission that sent 44 Special Action Force troopers to their death and brought the PNP to an internal crisis just a year before the 2016 elections.

This damage is dreadful: The democratization literature emphasizes that police reforms are critical bureaucratic reforms in deepening democracy.

At least two reasons are given. First, protection from crimes is one of the most basic services that citizens expect from their democratic government. Second, the police are the most immediate representatives of the coercive power of the democratic government that ordinary citizens in their everyday life encounter and seek help from, or be abused by. Whether police are seen as inept and corrupt or competent and upright, public perception of them inevitably reflects on the legitimacy of the democratic leadership.

The lack of progress in democratic deepening was not lethal to democracy up to the third quarter of 2015. With democratic consolidation secured, it was business as usual for Mr. Aquino as the top three presidential candidates—Jejomar Binay, Grace Poe and Mar Roxas—sought his endorsement at one time or another.

But when Duterte finally decided to run in the last quarter of 2015, the warning of democratization scholars became urgent: that many democracies with shallow roots survive simply because no credible authoritarian alternative has appeared to challenge them.

For although Duterte was an authoritarian demagogue, he nevertheless had his “exhibit A” that made him credible to millions of voters. That exhibit is his iron-fisted, law and order success story in Davao City. And at the core of this exhibit is displayed what democracy under Mr. Aquino did not achieve: the coveted image of a disciplined police force that enforced the law, protected law-abiding citizens, and hunted down criminals (never mind how this was done and if they only involved blue-collar criminals).

While Duterte’s victory was far from inevitable at that time, it was Mr. Aquino’s failure to deepen the roots of Philippine democracy that made it more vulnerable to the ferocity of the coming authoritarian storm.


Gene Lacza Pilapil is an assistant professor of political science at the University of the Philippines Diliman.


SOCIAL CLIMATE: Baseline trust ratings of Duterte and Robredo SHARES: New VIEW COMMENTS By: Mahar Mangahas @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 12:10 AM June 11th, 2016

In the most recent SWS survey on trust in political personalities, done on May 1-3, 2016, just before the elections, 54 percent of Filipino adults had much trust, and 28 percent of them had little trust, in presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. (The remainder from 100 percent are those not sure if they trust or distrust the person. This answer is offered up-front in the survey question.)

Subtracting the distrust from the trust gives a net trust rating of +26, which SWS calls Moderate (from +10 to +29). This is Duterte’s baseline trust rating, just before being elected.

In the same survey, 61 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in vice-presidential (VP) candidate Leonor Robredo. This puts Robredo’s baseline net trust rating at +45 (correctly rounded; such discrepancies in this column are simple rounding errors), which SWS calls Good (from +30 to +49).

The convincing victory of Duterte and the very close race for vice president were both anticipated by the voting intentions found by the survey. The survey questions for trusting and for voting for public figures are different. Trusting, unlike voting, does not involve making a preference over other personalities.

The history of winning candidates’ trust ratings. In survey history, Duterte is the only presidential candidate with a merely Moderate trust rating at election time. Six years ago, in the SWS survey of April 16-19, 2010, those with much trust in presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino were 74 percent, while those with little trust in him were 11 percent, for a net trust rating of +64, or Very Good (from +50 to +69). It is the highest preelection trust in a presidential candidate in the SWS archive.

Here are findings from earlier presidential election seasons: on April 10-17, 2004, 56 percent had much trust, and 23 percent had little trust, in Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, for a Good net rating of +34; on April 17-23, 1998, 56 percent had much trust, and 21 percent had little trust, in Joseph Estrada, for a Good net rating of +35; on March 25-April 10, 1992, 49 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in Fidel Ramos, for a Good net rating of +32.

READ MORE...

The trust rating of Robredo, on the other hand, is in the middle of the ratings of the winning VP candidates in the past four elections. In April 2010, 66 percent had much trust, and 15 percent had little trust, in Jejomar Binay, for a Very Good net +51. In April 2004, 64 percent had much trust, and 17 percent had little trust, in Noli de Castro, for a Good net +48, which is close to that of Robredo now.

In April 1998, 70 percent had much trust, and 11 percent had little trust, in VP candidate Gloria Arroyo, who has the record high Very Good +60. In March-April 1992, 41 percent had much trust, and 26 had little trust, in VP candidate Joseph Estrada, for a Moderate +15. In 1992, Estrada, like Duterte now, won his VP election easily; his trust rating then was also similar to that of Duterte now.

To me, it is valid to compare public personalities in terms of how many people find them generally trustworthy. It is just a fact that, in early May, there were more people trusting Robredo than trusting Duterte. What should not be done is to compare the forthcoming survey ratings of Duterte’s performance as president with those of Robredo’s performance as vice president.

The demographics of trust in Duterte and Robredo. SWS’ report on trust ratings in the May 1-3 survey, summarized in BusinessWorld (6/10/16), details the trust ratings of Duterte and Robredo according to demographic factors.

Duterte’s trust rating is Moderate in the nation as a whole, and also Moderate in Metro Manila (+21) and the Visayas (+19). But it is Very Good in Mindanao (+67), and only Neutral in the Balance of Luzon (+9).

Robredo’s trust rating is Good in the nation as a whole, as well as in Metro Manila (+21), the Balance of Luzon (+46) and Mindanao (+41). But it is Very Good in the Visayas (+52).

Trust according to sex. Duterte is more trusted by men (+29) than women (+22). Robredo is more trusted by women (+48) than men (+41).

Trust according to age. Older people trust Duterte less: His net trust declines from +42 in ages 18-24 to +11 in ages 55 and up. All age groups trust Robredo highly: Her net trust is +43 in ages 18-24 and also 25-34, +44 in ages 35-44, +47 in ages 45-54, and +45 in ages 55 and up.

Trust according to education. Duterte’s trust ratings rise with education—Moderate for up to elementary (+18), up to high school (+16), and some college (+28); and Good for college graduates (+44). Robredo’s trust ratings are Good at all levels: up to elementary (+38), up to high school (+42), some college (+47), and college graduates (+48).

Trust according to religion. Catholics have more trust in Robredo (+46) than in Duterte (+23). So do Other Christians: Robredo, +42; Duterte, +28. But Muslims have much more trust in Duterte (+70) than in Robredo (+40).

What I find most interesting is the survey finding that Iglesia ni Cristos (INCs), as of May 1-3, 2016, trusted Duterte (+13) and Robredo (+16) equally. The most trusted presidential candidate of rank-and-file INCs was actually Grace Poe (+63). Their most trusted VP candidate was already Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (+55).

* * *

The trust ratings by religion were specially tabulated by Ms Josefina Mar of SWS. Contact mahar.mangahas@sws.org.ph .


DIGONG


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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