Philippines: Arroyo most corrupt president: Poll

This is from the Tribune. Being most corrupt doesn't seem to effect her staying power. It seems the administration is always blowing off steam about the opposition. Maybe they need a new public relations firm probably a US one paid for by foreign aid!

Ally wants GMA ‘most corrupt’ poll probed

By Angie M. Rosales


In a bid to kill the messenger for coming up with a survey message showing President Arroyo as the “most corrupt president” in Philippine history, her staunchest ally, Sen. Miriam Santiago, yesterday vowed to unmask the alleged “culprit” behind the latest Pulse Asia survey that dared to make public the unfavorable results of its poll on who among the Philippine presidents earned the tag as the most corrupt.

She also reportedly threatened to have survey firms probed, as the senator claimed that they never conduct surveys unless they are paid for and financed by certain personalities.

Santiago said she is bent on filing a resolution today to investigate not only the particular survey firm but all major survey firms that have their results published in the media.

The woman senator pointed to a known member of the opposition, a former senator whom she did not name, but who she said was behind the Pulse Asia survey.

While she mentioned no names, it was already out in the

news Tuesday that former Sen. Sergio Osmena had commissioned that particular survey question.

Sources in the opposition said it was a rider question.

Santiago, in an interview with reporters, bared her plans of calling for a probe on this specific issue as soon as possible.

But Santiago’s colleagues, including the Senate leadership, are cold to her proposal, saying such results cannot be helped since this is the perception of the public of Mrs. Arroyo.

Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. twitted Santiago on her position, saying there was nothing wrong with the opposition commissioning the survey on corruption issues.

Mrs. Arroyo’s staunch ally said she wants to know who paid for these surveys, as she does not buy the claim that these polls are not commissioned and insists on knowing just who funded these surveys.

She also stated that she does not believe that the Pulse Asia survey results tagging Mrs. Arroyo as the “Most Corrupt President” in history are accurate.”

“Apart from the usual criticisms of accuracy of surveys, I don’t think that any right-minded scientific professional survey firm will conduct a one-sided survey. There will always be a positive part of the survey. For example, it may ask: ‘Who is the most corrupt president?’ but it should ask also ‘Who do you think is the most successful economically among the presidents we have had’?” Santiago stressed.

“My unconfirmed report is that a member of the opposition commissioned the survey and was able to convince a major daily to use it as a banner headline. This is not a coincidence,” she said, and claimed she was outraged at these survey results and their publication.

Condemning Pulse Asia, Santiago claimed: “This survey firm has always been associated with a former president. I would not say that there is a direct connection between that former president and this firm. I do know however that there is an opposition figure who commissioned the survey and paid the firm. He is very slippery. It (the survey) does serve the purpose of the opposition to put President Arroyo down,” she noted.

Villar disputed the assessment of Santiago as he hinted that it would be unlikely for the matter to be even taken up by them, saying it would be better for the President to address this current perception of the public on her.

“She (Mrs. Arroyo) should just accept this (opinion of the Filipinos of her),” he stressed.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, opposition member, joined Villar in chiding Malacañang and the chief executive on their response to the issue of Mrs. Arroyo as most corrupt president, tossing the blame on the series of scandals that continue to rock the administration.

“In other societies, such widespread indictment would be enough to make a leader resign. In Mrs. Arroyo’s case, it further fuels her motivation to work for the extension of her term via Charter change. Only in the Philippines,” Lacson said.

The same call was issued by another member of the opposition, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who strongly advised Mrs. Arroyo the following: To issue the release of the Neda-ICC documents on the broadband project so that the public can see how the government approved this project; order the return home of former controversial Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc-joc” Bolante to face the music in the proper venues and make sure that the fertilizer fund scam will finally be resolved; cancel all foreign loans that are associated with questionable big-ticket projects including the P25 billion Cyber-Ed project; and go after the big-time smugglers and tax evaders, sparing no political sacred cows in the process.

“I humbly put forward these areas where the administration can start walking the talk and hardening its resolve against corruption.”

For former President Estrada, he said that “if the surveys and majority of the Filipinos believe that Mrs. Arroyo is corrupt, then perhaps she indeed is (the most corrupt).”

Estrada was reacting to the “Most Corrupt President” tag, earned by Mrs. Arroyo, topping former strongman Ferdinand Marcos in corruption, as measured by Pulse Asia.

“If that is what the survey shows then it is true. I am a believer of surveys. Even when I first ran for Mayor of San Juan I was given 50-50 chance from that time, I won. I am a true believer of surveys as a mayor, as a senator, and as President, even at the height of my popularity,” Estrada said.

He stated that he is willing to help the Arroyo regime provided it shows sincerity in its treatment of the Filipino people the Arroyo government claims to be helping. “They (government) must decide for the good of the greatest number which is the poor,” he said.

Asked if he has already seen or felt the sincerity by the government Estrada shrugged and said: “No.”

The survey, conducted last October showed Mrs. Arroyo being widely viewed by the Filipino people as the most corrupt ever, topping the most corrupt list with a 42 percent rating nationwide.

Marcos came in second, with a 35 percent rating. Estrada came in as a far third, with a mere 16 percent of the respondents rating him in the same corrupt listing.

He came in second, however, in the same survey as the “least corrupt president” or not corrupt president after Corazon Aquino.

The findings on Estrada validate past surveys where the majority of the people saw him as not having enriched himself while in office, as against the great majority of the respondents also saying that Mrs. Arroyo definitely enriched herself while in the presidential office.

For its part, Malacañang yesterday branded as “unfair” and “baseless” the latest Pulse survey findings.

Both Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye and Presidential Management Staff (PMS) chief Secretary Cerge Remonde claimed to be in disbelief over the survey results, claiming that the poll does not represent the sentiments of the majority of the 84 million Filipinos, and only a handful, or 1,200 who were polled expressed these sentiments.

“How can you compare 1,200 respondents to the majority of the 84 million Filipinos? We have to check the line of questioning used. Were the questions leading? We have to consider also the kind of respondents chosen. All these must be considered before making any judgment,” Bunye said.

When asked to comment if the survey has no credibility, Bunye said “ Let us just say, we don’t agree with the characterization (of Mrs. Arroyo as the most corrupt president ever).”

Remonde, for his part, said the survey is baseless because it does not look at the positive developments done by the Arroyo administration but merely relied of perceptions.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermtia, however, expressed belief that the opposition is behind the survey and that this is part of yet another plot to destabilize the government.

“Just like in boxing, they try to do body punching on the President because they cannot give her a straight cut. It’s fortunate that we have a strong contender (Mrs. Arroyo) ,” Ermita said, adding that the people behind the survey are known to be “unfriendly” toward Mrs. Arroyo but stressed that he is not referring to the political opposition.

“Some elements from the opposition, not really the political groups, might be behind this (survey) so they can continue to criticize the President,” Ermita said.

Ermita also urged the media to be more positive in reporting so the good deeds done by Mrs. Arroyo can be made known to the public, citing as example the effort of the chief executive in saving Overseas Filipino Worker Marilou Ranario from her death sentence in Kuwait.

The Palace official also observed that some media men “glorified” opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV despite his wrong deeds in leading the standoff at the Manila Peninsula last Nov. 29.

With Sherwin C. Olaes and Tesa Gaila Medina


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