Can Duterte defy the pull of gravity? | Opinion, News, The Philippine Star

IT REMAINS to be seen if President Rodrigo Duterte is capable of levitation, enough to offset political gravity that seems to have started to pull him down.

One problem with most leaden figures is that once they start to drop in the esteem of the crowd waiting for promises to be made good, the only way to go is down. Their own deadweight might even accelerate the descent.

The questions playing in the minds of many people, especially the skeptics, are: Has Duterte reached this early in his term the tipping point beyond which there is no likely recovery? With the honeymoon over, will an annulment soon follow?

Signs of panic among the rats on board are too obvious to ignore. Many politicians who scurried to the side of Duterte after he won the presidency just 16 months ago have found their squeaky voice again, now backbiting and betraying their distress over his fumbles.

In the latest Social Weather Stations survey conducted Sept. 23-27 among 1,500 adults nationwide, Duterte suffered double-digit drops in his net trust (by 18 points) and net satisfaction (by 15 points) ratings compared to his standing in the second quarter ending June.

Duterte’s net satisfaction rating fell throughout the country, except in his bailiwick Mindanao, with the biggest drop in the Visayas at 30 points, followed by 22 points in the rest of Luzon, and 19 points in Metro Manila. The negative figures are too big to minimize.

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In urban areas, his net satisfaction rating fell 20 points, while seeing a 16-point drop in rural areas. However, net satisfaction among economic Class ABC fell only by 2 points (!), but dropped among Class D (by 17 points) and E (by 32 points!), the poorest sectors where adulation for the populist leader is thought to be strongest.

Duterte may prove to be his worst enemy, with himself being the main reason for the precipitous drop in his trust and satisfaction ratings. It may be time for him to…

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