Drop in Duterte’s ratings not our fault – CBCP

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Noting that blaming the Catholic Church is a “convenient excuse,” Church officials stressed on Thursday, mOct. 12, that the decline in President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval and trust ratings is not their fault.

Caloocan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David maintained that the slide in Mr. Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings is due to the relentless spate of killings in the past year.

“With all due respect, I’d say, Sir, the fall in the ratings is not due to us Church leaders but to the extrajudicial killings themselves,” said David, referring to House Speaker Panteleon Alvarez, who earlier said that bishops critical of Duterte and his administration’s bloody war against illegal drugs are to blame for the Chief Executive’s ratings drop.

David is the incoming vice president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

The third quarter survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that Duterte’s net public satisfaction and net trust ratings fell to their lowest since he assumed the presidency in 2016.

From a “very good” rating of +66 in June, the President’s net satisfaction ratings dropped to a “good” rating of +48, or a decrease of 18 points.

The same survey showed that Duterte’s net trust rating slid to a “very good” +60 in September from an “excellent” +75 rating last June.

Alvarez lashed out at the CBCP, claiming it was a source of “noise” that could have caused Mr. Duterte’s ratings to slide.

For Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent committee on public affairs, blaming the Church is becoming “a convenient excuse.”

“The Church is always a convenient excuse. I’d rather that they look at their own behavior before pointing their fingers at others,” the priest said, even adding that it may be the likes of Alvarez who “are the ones pulling the President down.”

“Alvarez should not make it appear that they are doing what is best for the country… They are the epitome of spoiled, entitled and arrogant politicians the public has come to abhor,” Secillano also said.

David stressed that the government’s denial of the so-called extra-judicial killings (EJKs) under the Duterte administration is not helping at all.

“It does not help at all that the government keeps denying that they’re happening. It’s obvious that the public is aware of them,” the prelate said.

Instead of blaming others, David said the government must stop the killings and focus on the healing of people if it wants Duterte’s ratings to go up anew.

“Perhaps, if the government wants the ratings to go upward again, all it needs to do is to stop the killings and focus instead on the rehabilitation of people with substance use disorder,” he said.

The bishop explained that the drop in Duterte’s ratings may indicate that those who have supposed the government’s anti-narcotics campaign “do not agree with the way it is being fought.”

David said the government should instead re-focus its fight against illegal drug lords, suppliers and manufacturers.

“If it stops referring to addicts as ‘criminals to be neutralized’ and starts addressing addiction as a health and poverty issue, its popularity ratings would be restored,” the prelate added.  – Inquirer.net