Duterte ratings more of compassion than satisfaction

TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag - The Freeman

The latest Pulse Asia survey shows the net satisfaction ratings of Philippine President Rodrigo soaring to what his critics and detractors might describe as improbable atmospheric heights. No other Filipino leader has attained a 91% net performance rating especially going into the final stages of his term.

His enemies may say the poll is flawed, and in the realm of endless possibilities, that may be acceptable. But in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the Pulse Asia survey is all there is. And therefore it stands. What really rubs salt on this latest injury to Duterte’s enemies, whether they accept it or not, is that they only have themselves to blame.

Filipinos are a compassionate people. Whether or not it has something to do with the Philippines being more than 80% Christian, I do not know. But it would not have hurt if Duterte’s enemies had given that fact a little consideration. There is something that strikes deep in the Filipino when they see an old, presumably sick, man being relentlessly demonized, to the point of wishing his medical records would show he is dying.

It could not have been his real performance. He has failed to stamp out illegal drugs as he had promised. He has thought of resigning over his failure to stop corruption. He had to endure the ignominy of admitting his hands are tied in dealing with Chinese bullying in the South China Sea. His only saving grace in all these failures was that he was, unlike other leaders, man enough and honest enough to own up to these failures.

And that is what I think endeared him to the public. It is not that, amid the relentless attacks, he is an underdog. A president can never be an underdog. But one can be demeaned, diminished, and denigrated even without reason. And that amounts to the same thing. When you reduce a person beneath his human dignity, somebody is bound to take pity and pick him up. In Duterte’s case, it is the entire nation.

Duterte’s enemies need not have waited for the Pulse Asia survey to confirm what the 2019 senatorial election shutout they suffered was already trying to tell them --that they were pursuing the wrong tack, that it never pays to deprive a duly-elected leader a chance to do his job in peace. Now the poll has whacked them straight across the face.

What makes it even more saddening on the part of the political opposition is that the same Pulse Asia survey showed the satisfaction ratings of Vice President Leni Robredo dropping by several points that could not be encompassed by the 3-point plus or minus margin of error, meaning her ratings registered an actual drop.

It is sad because you can tell that Robredo is not really the relentless attacker that she is being projected to be with her almost daily criticisms of Duterte as of late. She is just being pushed by the opposition political brokers behind her back who stand to reap all the gains if she wins but who remain unscathed in anonymity if she losses. Her drop in ratings is her own, not her co-conspirators.


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