We are pleased to share with you the third quarter issue of Politika, which includes the survey results that were released at the end of last week. The third quarter ended on an ambivalent note, with either no change or a noteworthy drop in President Duterte’s survey ratings. 80% told Pulse Asia that they approve of the President’s performance and 80% said that they trust him. On the other hand, the Social Weather Stations survey for the quarter found that 67% were satisfied with the President’s performance, a 16-point change from 83% the previous quarter.
Signs of a budding divide between struggling and comfortable Filipinos were first visible in an SWS survey taken in June. Three out of five Filipinos perceived that “Rich drug pushers are not killed; only the poor ones are killed.” These sentiments may have contributed to the president’s decrease with Classes D and E this quarter. A continuing decline should be cause for concern within this government, as these two classes make up the bulk of the electorate.
Over the last three months both houses of Congress deliberated on President Duterte’s proposed budget for 2018. The House of Representatives gained particular attention for its initial decision to reduce the budgets of three commissions to only PHP 1,000. The House leadership ‘restored’ the budgets of these commissions, but the incident serves as an example of the body’s willingness to flex its muscles in support of the President’s agenda.
The third branch of government has not been spared. On September 13, the House’s Committee on Justice found that the first of two impeachment complaints against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno to be sufficient in form and substance. Through her legal team, the Chief Justice responded to the complaints, citing the lack of impeachable grounds. We expect to gain more clarity over whether the complaint will prosper in the House of Representatives in the fourth quarter ahead.
Philippine politics churned last third quarter, as stories developed related to the President’s flagship War on Drugs, the ongoing conflict in Marawi and martial law in Mindanao, and the pursuit of federalism. More quietly, the administration is also facing challenging choices in the West Philippine Sea. In this issue, we also take a look at these topics in some depth.
We hope that you find this issue of Politika interesting and useful for understanding some of the changes that we have seen in Philippine politics this quarter.