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‘Pork’ causes big drop in PNoy’s rating

The latest Social Weather Stations survey showed that President Benigno Aquino III’s net satisfaction rating dropped 15 percentage points in the third quarter as a result of the pork barrel controversy. Another survey by Pulse Asia showed that the majority of Filipinos believe that the misuse of pork barrel appropriations continued during Aquino’s term. SWS said its Sept. 20-23 survey showed that Aquino’s net satisfaction ratings fell across all areas, socioeconomic classes and gender, and that the dissatisfaction with him increased to 19 percent in September compared with 12 percent in June. Deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte attributed the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating to the misuse of pork barrel funds, which she stressed happened from 2007 to 2009 or during the past administration. “We recognize that the increase in those dissatisfied reflects the depth of anger and disappointment of the people at the way public funds have been stolen,” Valte said. “We share this anger and disappointment. No amount of clutter should confuse the true issue at hand: Public funds were stolen by elected officials and their cohorts in the bureaucracy and the private sector.” Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan said the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating “is a natural consequence following his failure to heed the people’s demand to abolish the pork barrel in all its forms.” House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Aquino would recover because “He is a good President.” Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said “Malacañang cannot lie through its teeth that its [governance] is unaffected by the pork barrel scam and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said the drop in Aquino’s satisfaction rating could be “a temporary setback,” adding Aquino “will always be a symbol of good governance.” Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said it was unfair to blame Aquino for the pork barrel controversy because he had nothing to do with it. Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting advised Aquino to refrain from blaming the past administration for the mess he had created. “I think he must listen to the people and be more forthright in answering their questions,” Tambunting said. “He must not keep blaming the previous administration for everything.” Valte did not address the Pulse Asia survey result showing 67 percent of Filipinos—across all areas and across all economic strata—believe that the misuse of the pork barrel continued under the Aquino ad-ministration. She instead assured the public that the President would remain focused on curbing corruption while ensuring public funds were spent wisely. The same survey showed that 45 percent of Filipinos want the lawmakers’ Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel is abolished. The Pulse Asia survey also showed that close to one in every three Filipinos believe that politicians use their pork barrel to get elected, and the PDAF provides lawmakers the opportunity to receive bribes and commissions. At least 23 percent of Filipinos also believe that the PDAF is used by the President to obtain the support of lawmakers for his administration’s priority bills. The Pulse Asia survey was based on a sample of 1,200 respondents with a +/-3-percent margin of error. The third-quarter SWS survey, on the other hand, showed that the number of Filipinos dissatisfied with Aquino’s performance increased from 12 percent in June to 19 percent in September. But Valte stressed that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos or 68 percent remained satisfied with Aquino’s performance based on the same survey. With Maricel V. Cruz  
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