Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte’s satisfaction rating plunges below 50 per cent amid Philippines drug killings

Philippine President’s satisfaction rating has dropped 18 points in just three months

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 9:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 4:25pm

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s honeymoon period may be over, but his deadly anti-drugs campaign will not wane, his office said on Monday, after a fall in ratings that his opponents said showed public disillusionment with his rule.

Duterte has enjoyed strong opinion poll numbers since winning the presidency in last year’s elections but heavy scrutiny of his war on drugs, which has killed thousands of Filipinos, appears to have impacted his ratings.

Trust and satisfaction in Duterte fell to the lowest of his presidency in the third quarter of this year, a survey showed on Sunday, although sentiment about his leadership remained positive overall.

“The honeymoon period of the president is usually for a year, so this is expected,” Duterte’s communications secretary, Martin Andanar, said in a radio interview, adding it should motivate the government to deliver on its overall objectives.

The Social Weather Stations survey was conducted between September 23-27, two days after thousands of Filipinos rallied to denounce Duterte’s drugs war and his authoritarian leadership style.

It also came amid unresolved allegations that he has unexplained wealth.

The high death toll has stoked international alarm, although domestic polls have shown Filipinos are largely supportive of his tough measures to fight crime and drugs.

Police say they have killed 3,900 drug suspects during their anti-narcotics operations and deny executions have taken place, as human rights groups have alleged.

But the campaign has been under the microscope of late, due largely to the high-profile killing by police of a 17-year-old student on August 16, which led to a senate probe. A murder investigation is under way.

Police said he was a drug suspect killed because he opened fire on them while resisting arrest, but security camera footage showed him in police custody. His family insists he was executed.

Staunch critics of Duterte were quick to take advantage of a survey slump they said reflected public discontent and scepticism about his drugs war.

“It’s very encouraging to know that the Filipino people are beginning to see the light,” said Senator Antonio Trillanes, a fierce opponent who has recently accused Duterte of concealing assets when he was Davao City mayor.

“They are now seeing Duterte for who he really is: a lying, rude, amoral, corrupt and oppressive former mayor who is totally incompetent about governance at the national level.”

Duterte has denied allegations that he stashed large amounts of undeclared funds in joint bank accounts with members of his family, saying he would resign if the allegations were proven. He has refused, however, to heed a demand by Trillanes for him to sign a waiver to allow investigators to look into the bank accounts.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said the ratings dip showed Duterte’s “authoritarian style of governance is losing its appeal and support”.

“The writing on the wall is simple and clear: President Duterte cannot govern based on fear, lies and killings.”

Reuters and Associated Press