By Cong B. Corrales

AMID various, big issues hogging the headlines, only two of the country’s top five national government officials secured majority approval in their performance ratings,according to the latest Ulat ng Bayan survey of the creditable pollster Pulse Asia Research, Inc.

The survey results released today, June 22, 2015, showed that only President Benigno S. Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar C. Binay obtained majority approval ratings at 54% and 58%, respectively.

However, of the two, only Binay scored majority trust rating of 57%, Pulse Asia said.

While Aquino enjoyed majority approval ratings in almost all the geographic areas and socio-economic classes, he did not obtain majority approval ratings in Metro Manila (34%) and Class ABC (43%).

Class ABC gave Aquino and Binay a similar score of 43%, yet still the latter enjoyed majority approval ratings in all geographic areas, and and Classes D and E at 51% to 62% and 56% to 67%, respectively.

INFROGRAPHICS by Cong B. Corrales

INFROGRAPHICS by Cong B. Corrales

In contrast, three other national government officials failed to obtain majority approval ratings. Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano R. Belmonte Jr, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes A. Sereno who obtained approval ratings at 49%, 30%, and 31%, respectively.

Amid relentless allegations of graft and corruption against him, only Binay earned the majority trust rating in every geographical area and socio-economic classes (50% to 63% and 55% to 66%, respectively), except only for Class ABC (39%)

“Meanwhile, the only majority trust rating in this quarter is recorded by Vice President Binay (57%). One in two Filipinos (50%) expresses trust in President Aquino,” the latest Pulse Asia Research survey read.

Pulse Asia Research conducted the June 2015 Ulat ng Bayan Survey from May 30 to June 5, this year. It conducted face-to-face interviews among a sample of 1,2000 representative adults aged 18 years old and above.

Pulse Asia said the survey has a 1 to 3% error margin at the 95% confidence level. As for each of the geographic areas covered by the survey, subnational estimates have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.

As in its previous Ulat ng Bayan Surveys, Pulse Asia said that no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of its processes, and that the no singular entity commissioned the suvey.

The following issues had hogged the headlines weeks prior to and during the conduct of the latest Pulse Asia survey:

* The case of Mary Jane Veloso who had been meted out the death penalty for drug smuggling in Indonesia but was granted a reprieve at the last minute by Indonesian President Joko Widodo as well as the continuing efforts of the Philippine government and civil society groups and individuals to seek clemency for Veloso;

* The observation of Labor Day, with labor groups clamoring for, among other things, higher wages and greater protection for the welfare of domestic and overseas Filipino workers like, especially in the wake of Veloso’s case in Indonesia;

* The report of the special panel of probers created by the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the alleged overpricing of the Makati City Hall Building II which seeks to indict Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay, Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr., other Makati City government officials and some private contractors for criminal and administrative charges arising from the illegal procurement and payment for the design and construction of the said building;

* The decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) to grant a petition filed by the AntiMoney Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the bank accounts of Vice-President Binay as well as Makati City Mayor Binay, former Makati City Mayor Elenita Binay, and some of the reported dummies of the Vice-President in connection with the investigations done by the Office of the Ombudsman concerning the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II and Makati Science High School;

* The continuation of the hearings conducted by the subcommittee of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee regarding the alleged anomalies involving Vice-President Binay, with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claiming that the PAG-IBIG Fund granted loans amounting to P 134 million to four real estate developers allied with the Vice-President;

* The start of a new school year marked by calls for the scrapping of the K-12 program, the building of more classrooms, lower tuition, and more government support for the education sector;

* The killing of alleged terrorist Abdul Basit Usman in Maguindanao during a firefight between his group and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on 03 May 2015, a development which, Malacañang hopes, would restore public trust in the MILF and the Mindanao peace process in the aftermath of the January 2015 Mamasapano encounter;

* The approval by the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) of its own version of the proposed legislation, the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), by a vote of 50-17 (with one abstention) and the start of plenary discussions on the matter; the House of Representatives also approved on second reading a resolution seeking to amend the so-called restrictive economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution;

* The continuing tensions between the Philippines and China over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea and the reported land reclamation activities of Vietnam on Sand Cay and West Reef which are part of the contested Spratly Islands;

* The appointment of former Presidential Commission on Good Governance (PCGG) Chairperson Andres Bautista as the new head of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and those of former Cadiz City Mayor Rowena Guanzon and Atty. Sheriff Abas as new COMELEC Commissioners;

* The helicopter crash in Pakistan which killed Philippine Ambassador Domingo Lucenario, Jr. and six other people on 08 May 2015, with the Pakistani Taliban later claiming they shot down the army helicopter with an anti-aircraft missile, though this claim was denied by the Pakistani authorities who, in turn, attributed the crash to a technical problem with the aircraft;

* A Commission on Audit (COA) report which claims that a total of P 670 million from 49 lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which were released through the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), ended up in the hands of several questionable non-government organizations (NGOs);

* A meeting between President Benigno S. Aquino III and Senator Grace Poe in connection with the possibility of the latter running as president or vice-president in May 2016 under the Liberal Party (LP) and the disqualification issue based on her lack of residency raised against Senator Poe by Navotas City Representative Tobias Tiangco, who is the interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA); the exchange of words between Vice-President Binay and Senator Poe with the former saying that the next Philippine president should have experience and the latter replying that quality of service and honesty are more important than length of service or experience;

* The factory fire in Valenzuela City which resulted in the death of 72 individuals and the creation of a panel of state prosecutors who will determine the possible criminal and administrative offenses committed by the factory owner, Kentex Manufacturing Corporation;

* The welterweight division boxing match between Represnetative Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. which the latter won through a unanimous decision; and

* The lowest level of inflation in the country in 20 years at 1.6% recorded in May 2015 – lower than the 2.2% inflation rate the previous month – which, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), was due to sufficient supply of key food items and lower electricity and fuel prices. — PCIJ, June 2015

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