By JIM GOMEZ
MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos’ satisfaction with President Rodrigo Duterte has made its steepest drop since he took office last year amid an outcry over unabated drug killings and unresolved allegations that he has unexplained wealth, an independent poll showed.
The Social Weather Stations said its Sept. 23-27 nationwide survey showed Duterte’s satisfaction rating dropping by 18 points to 48, a level classified as “good,” compared to its last survey in June, when he got a “very good” 66-point rating.
The president’s trust rating dropped by 15 points to 60, which is classified as “very good,” from his “excellent” grade of 75 points in June, according to the SWS poll released Sunday.
Although Duterte generally remains popular, the survey outcome immediately reignited calls by several groups for an end to the killings of mostly poor suspects under his brutal crackdown against illegal drugs and for him to sign a bank secrecy waiver to allow an investigation into allegations of undeclared wealth.
An alliance of civil society groups called Tindig Pilipinas said the steep drop in Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings means the “honeymoon is over.”
“The huge drop in the president’s rating must serve notice to him: the people expect nothing but the truth on the allegations of corruption, ill-gotten wealth, and drug smuggling facilitation leveled against him and members of his family,” the alliance said. “Mr. President, we reiterate our call: sign the bank waiver!”
“The people are now seeing through the hype and fake news, and are realizing that change is not coming under President Duterte’s watch,” left-wing Rep. Emmi de Jesus said, citing “nonstop” drug killings, the rise in prices of commodities and the entry of a large shipment of illegal drugs through the Bureau of Customs in Manila.
There was no immediate comment from Duterte, but he has repeatedly denied that he condones extrajudicial killings of drug suspects even though he has publicly threatened drug dealers with death. He won the presidency with a wide margin last year on a pledge to eradicate widespread crimes, especially drug trafficking and use, and corruption.
Police officials said the arrests of more than 100,000 suspected drug offenders in 71,393 anti-drug raids since July last year help prove that suspects only get killed when they fight back and threaten law enforcers.
The drug killings recently came under renewed criticisms after police shot to death a teenage student they said was a drug dealer who drew a gun while being arrested. Witnesses, however, said the student was shot to death in a dark alley while pleading for his life.
Duterte has also denied stashing undeclared funds in joint bank accounts with family members, saying he would resign if the allegations were proven. He has refused, however, to heed a demand by opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for him to sign a waiver to allow investigators to examine the bank accounts.
SWS polled 1,500 adults nationwide in face-to-face interviews for the survey.
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