VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Is Duterte’s popularity rising?

Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said last week President Rodrigo Duterte’s popularity has been rising despite criticisms and exposés, the latest of which is by SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, a major player in the Davao Death Squad (DDS).

Lascanas in a media briefing at the Senate on Feb. 20 claimed Duterte ordered the killings carried out by the vigilante group.


Speaking on ANC’s Headstart on Feb. 21, Panelo said:

“Sinister forces are all over to discredit, to besmirch this man, but the popularity keeps on rising. The more you destroy him, the more he becomes popular, and the people believe in him.”

(Source: ABS-CBN News: Duterte, a lawyer, could not have ordered DDS killings: Panelo, watch from 4:00 to 4:14)


While Duterte’s performance and trust ratings have remained high since he became president, his numbers are virtually the same or have dipped slightly, according to recent surveys.

Therefore, Panelo was wrong in claiming that the president’s popularity is rising.

In Pulse Asia’s survey in December 2016, Duterte’s performance and trust ratings were at 83 percent, three points lower from the third quarter survey in September.

The slide is insignificant, however, as Pulse Asia’s surveys have a ± 3 percent margin of error. Because of the margin of error, the president’s ratings in December can go as low as 80 percent or as high as 86 percent. It means his ratings remained virtually unchanged.

Numbers from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey in December likewise disprove Panelo’s claim.

The president’s net trust rating in the fourth quarter dropped slightly from September but remained “excellent,” while his net satisfaction rating also shed a few points but remained “very good.”

His net trust rating in December was at +72 percent, slightly down from September.

While his net satisfaction rating in December was at +61, also down from the previous quarter.

SWS computes the net trust rating by subtracting the percentage of those with “little trust” from the percentage of those with “much trust.” The net satisfaction rating is the percentage of those “satisfied” minus the percentage of those “dissatisfied.”

Like Pulse Asia, SWS surveys have a ± 3 percent margin of error. Its net trust and satisfaction ratings are classified as “excellent” (+70 and above); “very good” (+50 to +69); “good” (+30 to +49); “moderate” (+10 to +29); “neutral” (+9 to –9); “poor” (–10 to –29); and so on.


Pulse Asia Research Inc., December 2016 Nationwide Survey on Presidential Performance and Trust Ratings

Social Weather Stations, Fourth Quarter 2016: Net Trust in Rody Duterte stays excellent at +72

Social Weather Stations, Fourth Quarter 2016: Net Satisfaction rating of the Duterte National Administration stays “Very Good” at +61