If you've seen the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) media release, the May 2005 Social Weather Survey, you'd be scratching your head, wondering why Pres. Gloria Macapacal-Arroyo is still in office.
In it, she got a Net Satisfaction Rating of -33, the lowest ever in the post-Marcos era. See the chart below:
There are a myriad circumstances which could have led to this dramatic decline in Pres. Arroyo's satisfaction rating. Chief among these are rising costs of oil and oil products, the declining peace and order situation resulting in the deaths of politicians, journalists, lawyers, and ordinary citizens, rampant corruption, alleged involvement of the First Family in illegal gambling, and the controversial EVAT measure which was only recently signed into law.
It could be some, all, or none of these things. Or perhaps it is just the simple fact that Pres. Arroyo's persona does not inspire trust and confidence. Just look at the chart above, and you will notice the Pres. Arroyo has never really garnered a high satisfaction rating in comparison to her predecessors.
It may be her image, which seemingly no one can relate to. Former President Aquino was an ordinary housewife and widow to the martyred Ninoy Aquino. Former President Ramos was a soldier and hero of the first EDSA revolution. Former President Estrada was a popular actor who rose to the top despite the lack of an education. Pres. Arroyo does not come across to be anything more than a spoiled rich girl from Philippine society's elite class. Now who can relate to that? Not me. Definitely not the masses.
Alarm bells should definitely be going off in Pres. Arroyo's mind. The last President with this low a rating was removed from office via a popular and bloodless uprising almost twenty years ago. It is therefore not surprising that there are so many rumors of possible destabilization efforts against the present government. If people are not satisfied, they are free to act on it. That's what we have implied in institutionalizing People Power as a lawful means of changing our leaders.
Whining about these alleged destabilization efforts or blaming the opposition does not help her image either. Passing blame only makes her look more helpless and weak, unable to control the situation. I don't know if the President is capable of projecting an image of strength or firmness. Despite the best efforts of her spin doctors, they have yet to succeed.
Through the SWS survey, the people have spoken, albeit in a whisper. Sooner or later, unless conditions improve significantly, they will raise their voices. They have done so in the past. And they still can do so in the future.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.