MANILA, JUNE 24, 2011
 (TRIBUNE) By Virgilio J. Bugaoisan, Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo - President Aquino took a leaf from his predecessor, former President Arroyo, now Pampanga congresswoman, as he shrugged off the steady drop in popularity ratings, claiming he would rather be right than popular.

Aquino yesterday shrugged off the latest drop of five points as indicated by the June 3 to 6 survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS) and insisted that survey ratings don’t matter as long as he knows he is doing well in running the affairs of the State.

“I’m not really concerned with popularity. It will go up and down. What is important is, for instance in Cotabato, there is quite a number of families there that already have to be evacuated. My concern is this. From from last week, we have been handling that. DPWH has been on top of the situation,” Mr. Aquino said in an ambush interview.

“I intend to be in Cotabato tomorrow and address the concerns of our people there, address them personally, because this has been addressed by so many departments since last week. So what is more important to me is that at the end of the day, we can face anybody and say that we are working and are not running after popularity ratings,” Aquino stressed.

But while playing unconcerned over his rating, Aquino pointed out that a 4 percent dip in satisfaction rating is still within the 3 percent margin of error, but which could also mean a 7 percent dip on survey results.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda also claimed that despite the drop, Aquino’s “nationwide satisfaction rating slightly dipped from 69 pecent in March to 64 percent in June, the figure remains in the Very Good range and historically, very high.”

In a statement, Lacierda also noted that Mr. Aquino’s level of dissatisfaction did not increase nationally from its 18 percent rating.

“These latest survey numbers should confound the pundits who have been drumbeating a ‘massive drop’ in the President’s and the administration’s satisfaction ratings from March to June,” said Lacierda.

“As the administration marks its first year in office, it is heartening to note that it continues to receive the support of the broad public. The administration has been working to clear the obstacles to good governance put in place by those with a vested interest in seeing the country fail. The foundations for inclusive growth are being laid firmly and the public is seeing the hard work being put in beginning to bear fruit,” he added.

According the latest SWS survey, satisfaction with Aquino’s performance has dipped to merely “good” from “very good.” with a net satisfaction rating at +46,.

The rating is lower compared with the president’s March’s “very good” net score of +51.

Pro-administration and anti-administration lawmakers also yesterday fought a word war on the issue of Aquino’s satisfaction rating, with one camp saying that the survey remains high while the other camp say it is low.

Two former presidential sons led the opposite sides of the word war with San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito, son of former President Joseph Estrada, lambasting Ang Galing Pinoy partylist Rep. Mikey Arroyo, son of the former president, for his statements criticizing Aquino on his falling ratings.

“Mikey has the audacity to speak about poverty when in fact it was during his mother’s regime when the country experienced so much poverty and hunger,” Ejercito said in reaction to Mikey’s statement that the Filipino people are suffering much under the Aquino administration.

Arroyo, in criticizing Aquino said: “The people expect him ( Aquino) to make good his campaign promise to deliver basic services and uplift the people’s lives. Ironically, prices of basic commodities are all rising. There is less food on the table. And yet, the only thing people can relate to P-Noy are his dates with different girls and his fancy for luxury sports cars.”

House Majority Leader Mandaluying Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said Aquino’s rating remains high despite the drop. “That is very normal rating for a President who has an awesome rating because of the overwhelming mandate and trust given by the people to him. The five percent dip is still historically high. Remember that the past administration even got a negative rating. The good governance of President Aquino as his administration marks its first year continues to have wide support from Filipinos,” Gonzales said yesterday.

Gonzales added that “some economic factors may have affected his net satisfaction rating like the spiraling costs of petroleum products which is a global problem and beyond government’s control.”

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, chairman of the House committee on justice, said “the recent SWS survey said the drop in Aquino’s rating s insignificant considering the problems that the administration is currently facing. But taking into account all factors, with the 46 percent approval rating, the President still enjoys the confidence and support of the people.”

Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada said “I believe the drop in the ratings, although not as big as in the previous survey, is the result of the increase of the prices in oil, basic commodities and utilities.

“These are beyond the control of PNoy because this is an effect of the unstable situation in North Africa and the Middle East. The President should exert extra-effort in informing the people what he is doing to address the issue of price increases. It may be unfair to PNoy but price increases is what the common people see, feel and experience whether rightly or wrongly,” said Tañada.

Pangasinan Rep. Kimi Cojuangco, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), said Aquino’s rating will bounce back “when all his new infra and social development projects commence.”

House Deputy Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, members of the House opposition bloc, said the survey should serve as a wake-up call for President Aquino to work hard and uplift the lives of the people.

“Half of the population doesn’t like him anymore, that’s why you have to improve your performance. This is a wake-up call already,” said Suarez.

Magsaysay said “a five percent dip in three months is already expected. With the events that transpired, more and more people are getting disappointed with this administration as they are either too slow or not addressing all the needs of the people. If the situation persists, this will have a downward spiral trend in the coming months.”

Mikeu Arroyo, in a text message, said the decline in Aquino’s satisfaction rating could be traced to the President showing more concern to attacking the previous administration, to the women he has to date and the luxury cars he has to ride instead of addressing the country’s political and economic problems.

“President Aquino should realize he is no longer on the campaign trail. That instead of attacking and blaming the past administration for his woes, he should start acting to address the country’s pressing concerns. He should be made aware that the drop in his satisfaction ratings is due to his inactions and of his coddling of his KKK (kaibigan, kaklase and kabarilan),” said the younger Arroyo.

Mikey said people had expected too much from Aquino as what he had promised them during the campaign period, which unfortunately, he (Aquino) had failed to deliver.

Mikey’s uncle, Negros Occidental Rep. Iggy Arroyo readily agreed with his nephew’s observation citing Aquino’s inaction on the country’s mounting problems.

“The reason for the downslide of PNoy’s rating is his inability to govern properly,” said Iggy.

Suarez warned it will be bad for the administration if the majority in the house stifles the congressional investigation, the House minority is calling for the President’s KKK.

“These are valid issues that can only be cleared through congressional probe we are assuming majority will try to block it but it will not look nice because under the previous administration there was no resolution that was not heard by the House. There was not a single attack to the president that was not heard all of them were heard and given full media attention,” Suarez said.

Interestingly, Progressive lawmakers who are allied with the House majority, supported the position of the minority.

“I think it’s the work ethic. And that will go down further. People are disappointed in his performance and expect a better work ethic. One year has passed and he has not improved,” said Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan.

Rep. Emmy de Jesus agreed it was Aquino’s failure to address basic issues that caused his downslide. “His non-action to people’s economic issues will really bring down his credibility. Continuing soaring of prices to aggravating housing problems are affecting more and more people,” said de Jesus.

ABE Rep. Eulogio “Amang” Magsaysay said Aquino is paying the price for making unpopular decisions. “When a head of state has to make unpopular decisions and, yet vital to the interest of the Philippines, one doesn’t have to wonder anymore when his popularity ratings get affected,” said the party-list solon.

3 Cabinet men giving P-Noy headaches By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) Updated June 24, 2011 12:00 AMComments (43)

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino dreads seeing two or three members of his Cabinet he considers harbingers of bad news.

Aquino’s candid admission was made before dozens of officials and employees of the Department of Public Works and Highways gathered for the department’s 113th anniversary celebrations yesterday. He made it clear Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson was not among the three.

“Sa totoo lang, meron akong na-obserbahan na mga miyembro ng gabinete, mga dalawa o tatlo – kada makita ko agad iniisip ko, ano kayang bad news ang dala-dala nito (In truth, I have observed Cabinet members, about two or three – each time I see them I wonder what bad news they bring),” he said.

He said that other Cabinet members, including Singson, are always ready with solutions.

Aside from Singson, Aquino said he considered as outstanding Secretaries Mario Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology and Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management.

“Whenever I see the others like Babes Singson, Mario Montejo and Secretary Abad, they are most of the time prepared with solutions,” the President said.

He said this is the reason why he is always ready to accept the three officials’ requests for appointment.

“Iyung iba ho, pinipilit ko na lang na harapin, dahil itong (mga) tao na ito, talagang, penitensiya ko na yata sa mundong ito kaya okey na lang (For the others, I have to force myself. Maybe it’s part of my tribulation in this world),” he quipped.

He also said he felt glad to set foot again at the DPWH main office, and that his last visit was ages ago when he was still a lawmaker deprived of his pork barrel funds by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Before he was elected senator in 2007, Aquino was a congressman from Tarlac. He joined the opposition against the Arroyo administration shortly after the “Hello, Garci” scandal broke out in 2005.


Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano again called on the Aquino administration to put closure to the scams of the past administration by holding those involved accountable for graft and corruption.

While the senator lauded the Aquino administration for its good work in instituting good governance, Cayetano said he found it “lacking” in holding the Arroyo administration accountable for alleged corruption.

“Holding people accountable is an effective deterrent against future abuses to power. It is the only way we learn. When a person is removed from office, charged and incarcerated, we send a message that crime does not pay. If not, they will just resort to better timing or hiding,” he said.

Cayetano made the call as President Aquino is set to mark his one year in office by the end of the month.

In a statement, Cayetano pointed out that while it is only right for the government to go after the “big fish” in graft and corruption cases, there is also a need to go after the “small fishes” who are tasked to do the paperwork necessary to commit these crimes.

“If we look at the scams that happened during the Arroyo administration - fertilizer scam, ZTE, swine scam, etc - no one is held accountable so far. And worse, we are only focusing on the mastermind,” he lamented.

The minority leader used the “Hello Garci” scandal to illustrate his point, stating that while the Garci tapes may not be used as evidence, they can provide leads to independent investigation should Malacañang decide to initiate one.

“How important is it for Malacañang to go after the evils or the sins of the past administration?” he asked.

Cayetano also reiterated his call for the purging of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of commissioners and other officials tagged in the Hello Garci controversy.

“If the Garci boys are still present and even promoted here in Comelec, who’s to say that the Fertilizer boys and the Swine Scam boys are not roaming at large at the Department of Agriculture (DA) or in the other agencies? Or the ZTE boys still lurking at NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) and DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications)?” - with Christina Mendez

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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