Duterte’s popularity plunges

MANILA – Is it just a temporary glitch or is it a portent of things to come?

While still high, President Rodrigo Duterte’s public trust and approval ratings have been sinking dramatically in recent months.

The president suffered a double digit decline in September. His previous high of 88 percent approval rating went down to 75 percent, but Malacanang pointed out that the level was “still very good.”

Mr. Duterte’s trust rating also fell by 15 percentage points, or a previous high of 87 percent to 72 percent as of early this month. The Pulse Asia Research, Inc. survey was conducted from Sept.1 to Sept. 7.

The loss of confidence on Mr. Duterte could be seen “in basically all geographic areas and socioeconomic groupings,” said Pulse Asia.

While various factors were seen to have caused Mr. Duterte’s decline, it was the soaring inflation that was primarily to blame, according to Pulse Asia. The country’s inflation climbed to a nine-year high last month

The president was also found guilty by the International Criminal Court of murder and crimes against humanity in August, which was rejected by both the president and Malacanang. The case was filed in behalf of the families of the thousands killed as a result of the president’s war on drugs.

The government’s mishandling of the nullification of the amnesty granted to Senator Antonio Trillanes did not help Mr. Duterte’s cause. The opposition senator was finally arrested on Tuesday, Sept. 25, but he immediately posted bail.

Mr. Duterte’s slipping popularity also affected the senatorial prospects of his allies, according to Pulse Asia. For one, his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, lost seven percentage points compared to the last survey, but she still managed to land within the winning circle of 12 bets.

However, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa and the president’s special assistant Christopher ‘Bong’ Go were also far down the top dozen possible senatorial candidates. Ditto with his spokesman Harry Roque.

It also hasn’t helped that the Philippine peso had sunk to a 13-year low of P54:31 to the US dollar as of Tuesday, this week. This level is close to the all-time low of P54.42:$1 in November of 2005.