MANILA (Mabuhay) – Four out of 10 Filipinos do not want President Benigno Aquino III to resign in the wake of the Mamasapano carnage, the chief executive’s biggest political crisis yet, a Pulse Asia survey showed.
The survey, conducted from March 1 to 7, revealed that 42% of the respondents disagree with calls for the president to step down from office now, compared to 29% who agree that he should resign and 28% who are undecided on the matter.
This is the plurality sentiment among those in Metro Manila (45%), the rest of Luzon (47%), and Class D (43%), Pulse Asia said.
Pulse Asia said public opinion is split three-ways in the Visayas, with 34% saying Aquino should not resign now, 36% ambivalent on the matter, and 29% saying he should step down now.
In terms of socio-economic class, 43% among Class D and 42% among Classes ABC and E disagree with calls for Aquino to step down now.
Nearly 8 of 10 Filipinos (79%) also believe that the national administration and President Aquino have not yet given enough explanation regarding the Mamasapano clash, which saw 44 elite police commandos killed by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters and other lawless elements.
The Mamasapano clash has threatened to derail the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as it cast doubts on the sincerity of the MILF and its commitment to the peace process.
The BBL is meant to create a new autonomous region for the Bangsamoros that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The clash has also magnified the supposedly unconstitutional provisions in the BBL, holding back legislators from passing the proposed measure within the Aquino administration.
Only 10 % of the respondents believe the government’s explanation on the Mamasapano clash is enough, while 11% expressed indecision on the matter.
President Aquino has drawn heavy criticism for his failure to apologize over the Mamasapano clash and his supposedly inconsistent statements regarding the debacle.
Criticisms on the president also focus on his decision to consult his close friend, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima, regarding the January 25 mission despite his suspension at that time.
While the survey revealed that more Filipinos are against calls for Aquino to step down from office now, political analysts believe that the Mamasapano fiasco has greatly affected the president’s endorsement power in the 2016 polls.
Some politicians and pundits also say that calling for Aquino’s resignation may be impractical, as the chief executive’s term is about to end in 2016 anyway.
President Aquino’s decision to skip the arrival honors for the slain SAF troopers in favor of the inauguration of a car plant in Laguna also did not go unnoticed.
The Pulse Asia survey said most Filipinos (91%) are aware of of the president’s non-appearance during the January 29 arrival honors, which critics had saying was unbecoming of a president.
With 9 of 10 Filipinos aware of the president’s non-appearance in the arrival honors, nearly 8 of 10 (79%) disagree with his decision to skip the event.
Eighty-three percent of the respondents in Balance Luzon disagree with the president’s skipping of the event, followed by 80% in Mindanao, 75% in Metro Manila, and 74% in Visayas.
In terms of socio-economic class, disagreement was highest among Class D at 81%, followed by Classes ABC and E, both at 76%. (MNS)