Binay’s approval rating surges

PUBLIC appreciation for Vice President Jejomar Binay’s performance has surged in February, eclipsing four other high government officials in a survey released Thursday by Pulse Asia.

In the survey conducted a week after Binay was able to delay the execution of three Filipino drug mules in China, the Vice President registered an 83 percent approval rating, up from 78 percent in October 2010.

However, Beijing decided to push through with the execution on March 30 even as Binay plans to make a last-ditch appeal to save the lives of Ramon Credo, 42; Elizabeth Batain, 38; and Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32.

Binay also received a trust rating of 81 percent as opposed to the 78 percent recorded four months ago.

Meanwhile, Aquino posted a trust rating of 75 percent, a four percentage-point dive from last October’s 79 percent. His approval’s ratings likewise plunged by six percent, from 80 percent late last year to 74 percent in the newest survey.

The survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 people from February 24 to March 6, with a margin of error of plus/minus three percent at 95 percent confidence level.

Sought for comment, Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado said that the vice president will use the affirmative public response to further improve his work.

“VP Binay is grateful for the people’s support. It encourages him to work harder for our people. The VP knows that our country is facing so many challenges and he asks that we all work together to face these challenges and help President Noynoy move our country forward,” he said.

The 68-year-old official currently heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and was also named presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns, the same functions held before by de Castro.

Binay’s high ratings failed to elicit surprise from noted political analyst Ramon Casiple, saying vice presidents traditionally get better brownie points than the president because they are not “exposed” that much.

“As usual, the Vice President gets a higher rating because he is not at the receiving end of lapses committed by the president’s men or by the President himself. Remember, the President is always in the line of fire,” he told Sun.Star.

This was exemplified during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, arguably the most unpopular leader since the ouster of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

In a separate monitoring by Social Weather Stations (SWS), Arroyo got her highest rating of +30 in March 2004 while then Vice President Noli de Castro settled between net scores of “moderate” +14 and “good” +47 in 2004 to 2010.

Arroyo’s term was rocked by various controversies ranging from alleged rigging of presidential elections in 2004 to condoning corruption involving large-scale government projects.

De Castro chose to concentrate on his work as housing czar and looking into the concerns of eight million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), while remaining loyal to the beleaguered leader.

In Malacañang, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the public’s positive response on Binay’s performance was a reflection of the government’s continuous stride for good governance.

“We’re certainly happy with it because he’s part of the administration. He’s part of the team of the president so we’re certainly happy for the vice president that his numbers are high and we welcome those numbers of the vice president,” he said.

Other officials surveyed include Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who got a 60 percent approval rating, a negligible change from 61 percent in October last year.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., has improved from 45 percent to 50 percent approval score this time around while Chief Justice Renato Corona has suffered a double-digit dip from 45 percent to just 32 percent.

“Actually, believe it or not, I think this is because of more media coverage of the House during the first quarter,” the Speaker told reporters.

Among the events that happened during the survey are the impeachment proceedings against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez at the House of Representatives and the congressional investigations into the plea-bargaining agreement entered into by former military comptroller Carlos Garcia as well as the alleged corruption involving retired military officials.

Majorities in all socio-economic classes approve of the work done by the President (69 percent to 80 percent), the Vice-President (76 percent to 86 percent) and the Senate President (58 percent to 61 percent).

Belmonte also recorded majority approval ratings in Classes ABC and D (51 percent to 54 percent).

On the other hand, majority trust ratings are obtained by Aquino (71 percent to 78 percent), Binay (76 percent to 84 percent) and Enrile (56 percent to 57 percent) in all socio-economic groupings.

Among the country’s top five government officials, Corona scored the lowest awareness rating of 83 percent but this is higher compared to the previous score of 79 percent.

In terms of trust, Enrile received 56 percent; Belmonte got 43 percent while Corona had 28 percent. Expression of trust was not included in last year’s survey.

Public indecision is most pronounced toward the performance and trustworthiness of Belmonte (37 percent and 39 percent, respectively) and Corona (43 percent and 44 percent, respectively).

Filipinos are least ambivalent toward the performance and trustworthiness of Aquino (18 percent and 20 percent, respectively) and Binay (14 percent and 15 percent, respectively).

Issues that also transpired during the survey period were the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Taiwan over the deportation of 14 Taiwanese nationals to China, government efforts to save three Filipinos facing execution in China for drug trafficking, and the evacuation of Filipinos in Libya amid the ongoing civil unrest in the country.



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