VP’s camp blames ‘fake news’ for low ratings

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
VP�s camp blames �fake news� for low ratings
Vice President Leni Robredo received the second lowest ratings among the country’s top officials.
The STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesman yesterday blamed disinformation and fake news for her relatively low approval and trust ratings in the September survey of Pulse Asia.

Compared with President Duterte’s approval and trust scores both at 91 percent Robredo received approval and trust ratings of 57 percent and 50 percent, respectively, in the Sept. 14-20 poll.

Robredo received the second lowest ratings among the country’s top officials.

“Given the limited budget of the OVP, she has actually done a lot with the resources available to her. I think the problem is more with respect to people finding out, or getting informed, about what the Vice President is doing,” said Robredo spokesman Barry Gutierrez in an interview with ANC.

He said millions of Filipinos were able to receive financial assistance from their local governments, and this was attributed to the administration as a whole.

“The VP does not have that particular luxury,” he said.

Gutierrez said since they do not have access to the same level of communication infrastructure as Malacañang, the Vice President is under “constant attack by trolls and other people who persist in spreading fake news online about her.”

“We’re really hitting a disinformation wall and we have to deal with that every day that we are striving to work for the Filipino public,” he said.

“Hopefully, Facebook itself, as an institution, is also attempting to take steps to address the proliferation of fake news on its platform. So hopefully, with these moves, slowly but steadily, we will be able to punch through the wall of disinformation that we have had to struggle against over the course of the last four years,” he said.

Nevertheless, Gutierrez said the approval rating “is not really a concern that the Vice President prioritizes.”

“She does not really spend any money at all to promote herself on social media. What is important for her is that she does the work, she is able to help actual people on the ground,” he said.

Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes defended the survey result, saying they used the same methodology and questions for the last 20 years.

Many have criticized the results of the survey, which showed Duterte’s high approval and trust ratings despite widespread criticisms over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a related development, a group supporting Robredo has urged the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to dismiss a poll protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“With no substantial recovery, the protest can only be deemed baseless. It’s high time for the PET to dismiss the case,” the TOWNS Foundation Inc. said in a statement.

Meanwhile, despite obtaining a low public awareness rating in the recent Pulse Asia Survey, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta yesterday said he is still happy because it was still a positive approval rating.

In the survey, Peralta received the lowest rating for public awareness and performance ratings and for awareness and trust ratings among the five highest officials in government, compared to President Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

“He is happy that despite a relatively lower awareness by the public, he still had a positive approval rating. The Chief Justice noted that he and the other magistrates of the Judiciary are all appointed officials. Hence, they will logically have lower awareness by the public,” SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said.

The survey showed that only 44 percent of Filipinos approved of the performance of the chief justice. He also obtained a trust rating of 39 percent. – With Evelyn Macairan

But Pulse Asia was unable to release comparative data for Peralta since it was his first time to be included in the Ulat ng Bayan survey.

Since his appointment on Oct. 23, 2019, the 68-year-old Peralta has been focused on implementing reforms in the Judiciary and making the courts adapt to the restrictions being implemented during the pandemic.

“More than anything, the Chief Justice is concentrated on providing the necessary reforms in the Judiciary to ensure the public that Justice will be better served. That is the thrust of the Peralta Court,” Hosaka said. – Evelyn Macairan

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