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Duterte endorsement still holds power – Pulse exec

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Duterte endorsement still holds power â Pulse exec
“I think it will be more powerful (than the late former president Benigno Simeon Aquino III) because of the trust and the approval ratings he’s getting,” Tabunda told Rappler in an interview on YouTube on Monday.
Presidential Photographers Division / Simon Celi, file

MANILA, Philippines — Despite criticisms over his administration’s war on drugs and handling of the COVID-19 crisis, President Duterte’s endorsement power will still matter come 2022 elections given his high approval and trust ratings, according to Pulse Asia Research director Ana Maria Tabunda.

“I think it will be more powerful (than the late former president Benigno Simeon Aquino III) because of the trust and the approval ratings he’s getting,” Tabunda told Rappler in an interview on YouTube on Monday.

“I don’t think he will become a lame duck president,” she added. Tabunda said the President’s approval and trust scores “did not change” and have remained high in Pulse Asia’s face-to-face surveys in the last two quarters.

“We may not be releasing the performance and trust ratings of the President, they don’t change. So what we have been releasing are pre-election questions and the handling of the pandemic,” she said.

Tabunda said she believes Duterte will maintain his ratings despite the International Criminal Court’s possible probe on his drug war.

“I don’t think the development with the ICC could be able to affect his ratings. I think he will continue to maintain those high ratings,” she said.

Tabunda, however, viewed the possible “weakening” of the coalition among Duterte’s supporters ahead of next year’s polls.

“Because of the elections it’s possible that the coalition will be weakening, but the President himself will continue to be highly regarded,” she said when asked if some candidates will seek Duterte’s endorsement.

Tabunda also said the opposition must field a candidate who can also connect to the people.

“It is important that the person is not part of the elite, they can relate to that person (because) politics is really personality-based,” she said.

She believes some voters will be taking Duterte’s endorsement into account.

“That’s for sure,” said Tabunda, adding that some will depend on who the other candidates are.

The Pulse Asia official also explained why Duterte has managed to maintain high approval and trust ratings despite widespread criticisms over some of his administration’s policies, particularly the controversial drug war.

“I think he really scored in a major way when he launched the anti-illegal drugs campaign and that sort of convinced them (survey respondents) that he is able to do what he says he will do,” Tabunda said.

“The pandemic is viewed as something that is too huge and is worldwide that they are giving the administration some slack,” she said.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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