Wrangling over public opinion

Economic news: ADB ups RP GDP growth forecast to 7% while Peso rises to 7 1/2-yr high. A cautionary note: Vietnam close to overtaking RP in shipping–UN.

Postmortem on the transport strike: Transport strike fizzles out.

For several years now, transport organizations have generally been pandered to by, and thus, cooperative with, government. the Left thus had to prove it still had clout with transport operators, never mind if public opinion sided with them or not.

Arroyo seeks return of subversion law while Esperon wouldn’t mind extension as AFP chief (for purposes of comparison, see Esperon: I’m ready to go with clear conscience, which also has Esperon not minding an extension; perhaps a trial balloon, but by whom? Definitely, the President’s decision come the expiration of Esperon’s present term, will be seen as significant).

Good or bad for the Republic? Libyan govt pitches into bring peace to South:

Saif Al-Islam Al-Qaddafi, eldest son of Qaddafi, is on a state visit to the Philippines, where he met with President Gloria Arroyo on Thursday.

He aims to ask the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to reconcile with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) from which it split in 1978, Libyan diplomats said. He was expected to have met with representatives of both the MNLF and the MILF later Thursday.

Wrangling over the survey continues: Malacañang on warpath, tags Serge Osmeña:

Osmeña explained how the survey results became public.

“Last Tuesday when I was in Bacolod to visit my 94-year-old mother in the hospital, I got a text from Pulse Asia’s Ana Tabunda. She was briefing ABS-CBN on the regular periodic survey findings of Pulse. That survey had included questions on corruption. I did not know that and I commissioned a handful of rider questions on trust ratings of some leaders and the most corrupt and most honest President,” Osmeña said in a text message.

“Ana asked if I could lift my embargo so that she could disclose my data to ABS… When I agreed, ABS later called me up to ask if they could announce my poll findings on their newscast and ABS inquired why I had commissioned the poll. I replied that the opposition office takes regular surveys to feel the pulse of the citizenry. We have alternated between using Pulse and SWS. Our cost for this rider was in the low six figures,” he said.

Two editorials try to dissect the administration reaction to the survey.

In the Inquirer editorial, they slice and dice through the administration’s objections:

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said in a statement written in Filipino, “is the President’s unceasing service to the millions of Filipinos, not her rating in surveys of 1,500 people.”

The implication is that the universe of survey respondents is too small as to be representative. This comes as news to us, because Malacañang has in fact depended on similar surveys, conducted by the same polling organizations, when they meet its objectives. The President’s election victory over main rival Fernando Poe Jr. was predicted by the surveys, and Arroyo officials used that very trend in the last several weeks of the 2004 campaign to defend Malacañang, in 2005, against accusations of election fraud raised by the “Hello, Garci” tapes. Those surveys had more or less the same sample size, but did we hear any Malacañang official whining about its unrepresentativeness then?

In his blog, Newsstand, John Nery, who has taken pains to dissect many a survey and the process, for those who continue to be skeptical of statistics.

In the Business Mirror editorial, the bottom line, it says, is the issue of trust. It first catalogs the virtues of the President:

It truly is tragic that a President under whose watch macroeconomic stability was achieved under the most challenging conditions, and who has displayed a keen devotion to her work, following a punishing schedule despite her own health risks, is now seen as “most corrupt” even though no court has found her to have stolen a centavo from the republic. Viewed from this angle, it’s easy to understand Malacañang’s deep-seated frustration at the survey.

Then asks, despite these virtues, why is she still being hammered in terms of negative public opinion?

Critics of the Trillanes-Lim group wonder aloud why the “destabilizers” never seem to tire of raising the same old issues against her presidency. Simple: the “same old issues” remain “same old issues” because there was never any satisfactory resolution, in the public mind, to them. In short, no closure.

Worse, in every case, the president was often perceived as being too protective of the parties named in each controversy, whether a relative, political supporter or patron, or a subordinate official. Thus, it has come to pass that at the end of the day, the blame was put at her doorstep.

To every congressional inquiry, her legal advisers have thrown all conceivable means to block efforts to ferret out the truth: Executive Order 464 is a classic, mocking the very principle of checks and balances in a democracy…

There are many more controversies without closure: the Venable contract, the Joc-joc Bolante fertilizer scam, “Hello Garci,” and the alleged corruption in the military even as soldiers die in the field partly from substandard materiel and gear.

And finally, it asks, why does the President get a raw deal compared to say, Fidel V. Ramos?

At the end of the day, some people have raised the question of how come Mrs. Arroyo received a lower score than Fidel V. Ramos, whom critics say seems to have a “Teflon” ability to brush off such megacontroversies as the Centennial Expo, PEA-Amari, the onerous independent power producer contracts, and the multibillion-peso tax-credit scam that happened during his administration.

We hazard a guess: Mr. Ramos has not been perceived to be eager to use every available stratagem–when he was president and after–to block official inquiries or efforts to ferret out the truth. He had the patience to explain himself well, would personally prepare position papers and documents, and would tell his accusers, in and out of Congress, that he did a judgment call each time, and if he were to be made liable for his acts, so be it. He was seen on national TV attending several congressional hearings, facing his accusers. So whether or not people have evidence of any direct participation by Mr. Ramos in any of these controversies, perhaps–just perhaps–people see him as someone not going out of his way to cover up or block the efforts of truth-seekers. After all, the Pulse survey was admittedly tracking perception from the very start: and unfortunately for her, the perception she and her minions have tried so hard to block all inquiries has reinforced the suspicion she had committed something wrong.

Anyone intent on prosecuting a case is convinced they are right and will win; anyone defending themselves in a case is convinced they are innocent and will prevail. Foregone conclusions in any sort of trial is dangerous thing because it means it’s not a trial but a kangaroo court. Part of the brinkmanship of the administration is to completely ignore the majority of her critics who pointed out that subjecting her to accountability procedures also meant she had the opportunity to vindicate herself fully.

In his column, Amando Doronila tackles the survey results, too:

There are valid issues that can be raised about the survey. The first is the time context of the comparison of records of the five presidents. The second, which is less important than the first, is the timing of the survey. Osmeña has said that he had wanted to test political awareness of the public in relation to the 2010 election, which is still far off, making me conclude that the survey is a wasted effort at this stage in terms of immediate political impact.

For the first time, someone has tried to quantify corruption in the case of the President. Newsbreak breaks it down to $164.7 million, a bit over $1 million for every centimeter of the President’s height (150 cm. is the President’s height):

Newsbreak estimates the amounts involved in the alleged major corruption cases under the Arroyo administration. (In US dollars; based on a US$1=42 pesos exchange rate)

IMPSA deal $ 2 million
Diosdado Macapagal Blvd. 14 million
Piatco 20 million
Jose Pidal account 7.6 million
US properties 7.1 million
Fertilizer scam 17.3 million
North Rail project 50 million
NBN-ZTE deal 32.9 million
Jueteng collections 10 million
Palace cash handouts 3.8 million
TOTAL $ 164.7 million

Why aren’t the law-and-order types demanding two things, I wonder: the prosecution of policemen accused of looting the Manila Peninsula, and the Makati Shangri-La for refusing permission to post snipers on its roof? See the Newsbreak story:

The Marines and the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF), who led the assault, were working with limited information.

They did not have prior intelligence information on the plan of Antonio Trillanes IV and Danilo Lim to take over the hotel. They were in the dark on exactly how many armed followers were with Trillanes and Lim–and their positions inside the Manila Pen. All they had was a map of the lobby of the hotel which they got from the Makati police.

The situation was so frenzied at the Pen that the soldiers were unable to coordinate with the hotel staff regarding the map and positions of rebels.

The Marines planned on posting some of their men at the Makati Shangrila–for possible sniper shots but the hotel disagreed and refused to cooperate.

Also, Charges vs Guingona, other civilians at Manila Pen dismissed. On a related note, quarter of people surveyed said they were willing to go out in the streets. To me, this is huge, but of course what remains to be asked is what would the other three quarters do in a situation that would bring the one quarter into the streets?

Incidentally, an interesting Newsbreak story on group dynamics:

In fact, the same October survey shows that 25 percent of the respondents will “do whatever is necessary to have a president resign or be removed from office.”

Here’s the statistical analysis, provided by Pulse Asia executive director Ana Tabunda. While 25 percent of Filipinos may be willing to do whatever is necessary to remove a corrupt president from office, there is one presumption in the survey question. That they are “convinced that the President should resign.” The question is: were they convinced on November 29?

Newsbreak recalls what analysts and historians have shared to us about failed revolutions in the past. That is, no revolution launched during the holidays nor in the rainy season ever succeeded in the Philippines. Filipinos, the analysts said, never like anything to go in the way of a happy Christmas celebration. They, too, don’t want the hassle of getting wet in the rain.

On November 29, the holiday spirit was in the air, primarily due to early Christmas carols and decorations in malls and giving of the 13th month pay. It was also raining.

Overseas, Whither Malaysia?

Will dissent increase? Is Abdullah Badawi in electoral trouble? Will unrest spread outside of the opposition parties to the populace at large? What do the demonstrations mean for investors?

The answers are mixed. Despite a general feeling of malaise over the economy, it actually grew at the fastest pace since 2005 - 6.7 percent in the third quarter - on rising domestic demand and investment as well as commodity exports, although manufactured exports declined somewhat. So far, unrest appears to have been contained largely within the opposition despite widespread grumbling, particularly on the Internet, and does not appear to be concerning investors. The Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) said in its 2008 Economic Outlook for East Asia, released this week, that reduced corporate taxes are expected to continue to lure foreign investment. Nobody is particularly nervous about the protests.

Unless there is a dramatic change, it is inconceivable that the Barisan Nasional, the collection of ethnically-based political parties that make up the national ruling coalition, would lose an election when it is called, expected to be sometime next year. But by Malaysian standards the electorate may deliver a blow to the Barisan, which has ruled the country since independence in 1957. Ethnic Chinese, who make up 23.7 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook, have been disenchanted by rising Malay bellicosity and widespread reports of corruption.

Rural Malays can largely be expected to continue to support the Barisan and the United Malays National Organisation, the leading ethnic party in the coalition because of the benefits delivered to them by the National Development Plan, the successor to the New Economic Policy or NEP in the form of schooling, redistribution of wealth and other assistance. Commodity prices, because of China’s voracious appetite, are up, particularly for palm oil and rubber.

Although urban professional Malays in Kuala Lumpur and other cities appear to be increasingly unhappy with what they regard as the hijacking of the NEP by rent-seeking cronies and a series of events involving local corruption, nothing has galvanized them into real action against the Barisan. For one thing, their options are relatively limited. The jeans-wearing BMW drivers and their companions in the urban areas who have forsaken strict Islamic dress have little in common with the ascetic Islamic foundations of Parti Sa-Islam Malaysia, the biggest Malay opposition party outside the coalition.

In the blogosphere, an interesting account of meeting, and working, with Trillanes in Iloilo City Boy. And a list of winner and losers in The Warrior Lawyer. In Katataspulong, a catalog of lost opportunities for a province. Mongster’s Nest provides a political lexicon for the concluding year. Ped Xing on land reform.

Uniffors takes a look at the ongoing Transco bidding.

And Going Through a (Phase)Book just made me laugh very hard indeed!

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173 comments

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    • ramrod on December 14, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) profoundly influenced such political giants as Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King Jr.

    Thoreau compares government to a machine and the problems of government to “friction.” Friction is normal to a machine so that its mere presence cannot justify revolution. But open rebellion does become justified in two cases: first, when the friction comes to have its own machine, that is, when the injustice is no longer occasional but a major characteristic; and, second, when the machine demands that people cooperate with injustice.

    Thoreau declared that, if the government requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.

    http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0503e.asp

  1. That’s Esperon’s way of begging for an extension! Incorrigible jerk!

  2. They, too, don’t want the hassle of getting wet in the rain.

    As I have said, when Filipinos see a genuine cause to go to the street, they won’t mind the rain. They were not even scared if they would be arrested. Take the case of the funeral procession of Ninoy Aquino.

    Not even when they were hosed down during the demonstration, the likes of the old man Tanada would stop joining the protest actions. Unlike these days. they shouted to high heavens when they were just “wet” by the Fire Department hoses and when apprehended, they use illnesses for their alibis.

    Sheesh.

  3. “Ana asked if I could lift my embargo so that she could disclose my data to ABS…

    ABS CBN…hmmm I told you, the publication of the result was
    a chess move.

  4. In fact, the same October survey shows that 25 percent of the respondents will “do whatever is necessary to have a president resign or be removed from office.

    25 percent of 1,200 is 400. One hundred must come from Luzon or Metro Manila. they were there in Manila Pen including the more than 50 press people.

    Hahaha, people do believe in surveys a lot but CBCP believed only in surveys when it does not concern their policies i.e birth control methods.

    • hvrds on December 14, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    FVR Jr. learned from the best on corruption; Marcos. It appears he used institutional means to make money. The ways of the Kabuki is legendary.
    Big Mike and GMA are from the old trapo style of corruption.

    From GTEB to the NBN up front in your face style reminiscent of the old Spanish elite. “What are we in power for?”

    Anecdotal evidence from people close to the first couple gives fuel to the little one’s penchant for being on top of the social heap.

    Typical for an Indio wanting to be part of the elite.

    Razon Jr. meanwhile has learned the ways of the ways of the crony capitalism model as promoted by the multilateral funding institutions.

    The experience of ICTSI in the bidding of the MICP gave him an insight into the power corridors of the world’s financial system. The IFC of the World bank are his partners.

    That and his closeness to the first couple makes for a potent combination.

    During the time of Marcos the old dictator did not have the luxury of that.

    • hvrds on December 14, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Unfortunately for most of the people in the Philippines that count, the productive sectors, the government and the elite always love to make it a simply policy frame that they call land reform.

    It is not that simple. Asset reform in the primary sector firstly is not a leftist idea. It is a prerequisite for establishment of a market system or a more developed form of the division of labor as espoused by the moral philosopher Adam Smith. If people do not believe in that rationale or philosophy then so be it.

    It is that market system that starts with rural development that will later drive industrial development.

    Two men called for a leap frogging strategy in Asia. One was Mao with his great leap forward, he wanted to leap frog over agricultural and rural development and turn villagers into blacksmiths to leap frog into the industrial revolution on command. The second is Joe Almonte who believes that a country like the Philippines can leap frog over agricultural and industrial development into the third tier economic development of the digital age. He is a zealot of Third Wave development Theory of Alvin Toffler.

    The result we school and train our people for an economic system and structure that does not exist in the country.

    If you want to have a market system that will eventually create economic opportunities for the vast majority than Adam Smiths rationale of agricultural and then industrial development comes into play.

    If we want the Almonte model of leap frog then we have to figure out what to do with all those millions in the rural areas. Maybe we could simply partition off the country and sell it off in chunks to the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. then the small number of families who own the Philippines can then move on to their adopted countries in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

    Let us move to make Lucio Tan our President.

  5. $164.7 million, a bit over $1 million

    And someone has to point to them that billions have more zeros than millions.

    These respondents should be taught arithmetic to show them who is the most corrupt. the one who stole

    billions or the one who’s accused of stealing millions.

    But still I don’t blame the respondents. I still blame how the questionaire was designed. Sheesh.

    BTW, perception does not necessarily convict an accused. It has to be still proven.

    And that’s what I’ve been waiting. Where’s Cayetano boy ?

  6. Why aren’t the law-and-order types demanding two things, I wonder: the prosecution of policemen accused of looting the Manila Peninsula, and the Makati Shangri-La for refusing permission to post snipers on its roof?

    with regards looting, there was already news about investigation being conducted.

    With regards Makati Shangri-la, that is not a “crime scene”. There are no suspects hiding in there. All the police could do is ask.

    • ronin on December 14, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    Al-Islam Al-Qaddafi had been in Bangkok before coming to Manila, looking into the insurgency in Thailand’s South:

    http://www.bangkokpost.net/topstories/topstories.php?id=124391

    • hvrds on December 14, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    Bottom line for the Philippines model steeped in “landlordism” is the the philosophically radical idea of “property rights” (to the laborer goes the fruits of his labors.) And the States’ role in guaranteeing and protecting those rights.

    A very radical concept for Erap, Big Mike and GMA to comprehend in recent times. A radical concept for most of those in power who are landlords.

    • hvrds on December 14, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    There appears to be a wide divergence under the judicial activist SC under Chief Justice Puno with the clearly constructionist (strict interpretation) interpretation of laws by the Big Mike and GMA government.

    Any act it seems vs. the government is being construed as sedition, subversion, and rebellion. The recent dismissal of the number of civilians indicted almost immediately after the incident shows a wide gap between the executive and the judiciary.

    Ironically it was the judicial activism of Justice Puno who liberally interpreted the acts of President Erap as a constructive resignation that brought the new royal couple into power. This liberal re-constructive view of the constitution has driven many constructionists including our favorite American Jihadist Bocobo into epileptic fits.

    Our favorite judicial activist Justice Puno points to the proximate cause in his decision of the act of constructively resigning to the declaration then of the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Reyes. The Armed Forces of the Philippines withdraws support from President Estrada and switches their allegiance to the Vice President GMA their Commander in Chief. This before GMA was sworn into office by Davide and while President Estrada was still president. C.J.Davide rationalized his act by declaring that GMA was to be sworn in as acting President.

    Clearly the judiciary will have a hard time finding Trillanes and Lim guilty of rebellion based on the legal precedent set by Justice Puno.

    An expression of the freedom of speech and assembly to address grievances. All intra-constitutional means of succession.

    At most they could be charged with grave threats for insisting that they be allowed entry into the Pen. Unlawful possession of weapons since they were supposed to be under custody. Destruction of private property for the glass door they destroyed on their entry. Failure to pay for the use of the function room. Maybe trespassing. For the courts rebellion would be a stretch. Maybe constructive rebellion charge should be in the offing. Or the charge that former Justice Secretary Drilon tried to pin on Enrile in the past. I think it was called rebellion complex or some other legal animal.

    Being escorted by their guards will be a hard issue to explain away.

    It is now a case law of an activist Supreme Court. Clearly a re-constructionist (liberal) view of the constitution.

    Whew, even if the judiciary is generally thought to more corrupt than not this three separate but equal parts of government seems to be keeping us still in one piece.

  7. Thanks for the mention, Manolo!

    • Jeg on December 14, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Rebellion complex. Sounds like a neurosis. Baka si Ate Glo may rebellion complex.

  8. I think Malacanang does not understand the rules of the game. Just like basketball, there are rules. Example, the three second rule disallows an opponent to stay more than 3 seconds in the opponents restricted are. If you keep staying in that area more than 3 seconds and shooting, it does not count.
    Like wise, being the president of the Philippines requires that you follow rules of the games. As Ret. General Angelo T. Reyes aptly put it, the Executive department executes the laws of the land, not make it. Of course this has to be done on established norms of conduct such as honesty, transparency, respect for human rights, and accountability.
    Hence, the president should not make Executive ORders to protect herself, instead aptly make Executive Orders that are in line with the Constituion to help her aptly execute the laws of the land.
    She should not be surprised that I for one, do not appreciate any of this so called economic gains, because they have been done not within the rules of the game.

    • cvj on December 14, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    The ‘Going Through a (Phase)Book’ is brilliant!

  9. “Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo said surveys like these were largely irrelevant. “Pinakamahalaga ang walang sawang serbisyo ng Pangulo sa milyun-milyong Pilipino, hindi ang rating niya sa mga survey ng 1,500 tao.”

    The insinuation that the small sample size of such surveys rendered them insignificant was echoed in one of Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye’s statements. He said: “We therefore vehemently challenge the survey results which could have been influenced by a number of distorting factors such as the sample (1,200 respondents out of 84 million Filipinos), possibly misleading questions and even the person or persons who commissioned the survey.”Malacanang Press Statement

    Any student of marketing research can easily refute the Palace claim that the base of 1200 is too small to represent 84 million Filipinos.You don’t need to interview the whole population to know the national pulse!

    Basically, all polls are alike in that they are based to some extent on the theory of mathematical probability, which means that by polling a sample of a certain population, if each member in the population has an equal chance of falling into the sample, a number of unknowns can be predicted for the entire population.

    Even in America with a national population of 303 million people (3.6x the Philippine population), a sample of 1,500 interviews is the standard in national opinion polls (polls conducted by television and newspapers generally have a much smaller sample size), because it has an error margin of plus or minus three percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence level, which is considered acceptable.

    • Carl on December 14, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    Wait the day that this activist SC would expand their powers to re-imagine the economic provisions of the constitution. Careful what you wish.

    • Carl on December 14, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    About landlordism and agrarian reform, an anectode quite summarizes the irony of Philippine experience:

    Upon being praised for her dazzling jewelry in national tv, Kris Aquino, darling of the masses and daughter of a modern hero and a president who restored democracy, proudly replied: “Katas ng Luisita”.

    • vic on December 14, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Equalizer, most surveys on National level done in our case take the sample of 1200 and nobody complaining. that’s out of 32 millions so the percentage is a little more closer than the l500 to 80 plus millions in the Philippines, so just add the margin or error a little more. we estimate our margin of error at somewhere plus or minus 2 % points…

    • Bencard on December 14, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    i think, comparatively speaking, results of american surveys are a lot closer to reality than those of local surveys. i think the reason for that is not so much the manner of use of scientific techniques in information gathering as it is the quality of the data gathered from the source.

    whether we like it or not, americans generally are more adept at critical thinking and are more pragmatic than filipinos. it’s not just a matter of education (we have “highly” educated people who could fanatically support a morally and intellectually deficient artista, or a recidivist mutineer). it is more cultural and emotional than anything else.

    in america, an implication of the slightest immorality, let alone indictment for or conviction of a crime, is a serious political consideration even for an ordinary farmer or welfare recipient. the average american doesn’t readily swallow every allegation without a reality check that is reasonably convincing to him/her to form an opinion.

    is it any wonder the local surveys, more often than not, do not translate into reality, especially pre-poll surveys? the only time i recall american poll survey missed was when dewey lost to truman despite survey prediction to the contrary. and that was in the 40’s.

    • Bencard on December 14, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    carl, i think kris is tacky.

  10. “whether we like it or not, americans generally are more adept at critical thinking and are more pragmatic than filipinos.”

    yeah,right…George W.Bush as President!lol

    • Bencard on December 14, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    i think YOU are not fit even to wipe bush’s ass.

  11. Old Geezer:Agree 100%.The honor is reserved for you.

    • Madonna on December 14, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Bencard,

    I don’t quite get why the discussion about the reliability of the recent Pulse Asia Survey turned into the subjective comparison between Filipinos and AMericans. How did it get there? So what? Filipinos cannot be trusted, and Americans can? That’s a sweeping generalization that won’t pass objective judgement of the facts at hand.

    Here’s my two cents and they are not merely my opinion because I worked for a long time in research when I was in the corporate world. Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations (SWS) are reliable survey outfits because they use scientific methodologies in preparing their samples and in devising their questionnaires — testing for validity and spuriousness.

    Also, I could also attest to the personal and professional integrity of Mahar Mangahas, the head of SWS and Prof. Felipe Miranda, the head of Pulse Asia (who was one our holy terrors at the Department of Political Science at UP Diliman). Go ask around. These two are maniacal about mathematical exactness and reliability. In short, I’m sure as hell of the integrity of these two men and the outfits which they head.

    I may not trust the intentions of the one/s who commissioned the survey, but it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t the ones who conducted it.

    • Silent Waters on December 14, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    I think at the end of the day, perception trumps reality every time. For some people, perception IS reality, while for others, the situation dictates that proof be present for perception to become reality.

    Sad to say, nobody is really interested in getting into the bottom of the problem. Being pro or anti is now a matter of perception. Both sides uses self serving surveys to show proof of the “rightness” of their cause.

    That’s what is meant by it being hard to believe these surveys. Not because of the people who conducted them but rather because of the people commissioning the survey, whether pro or con.

    These outfits must be careful to take care of their reputation as honest synthesizers of collected data, else, in the future, people’s perception of their capability as neutral players will be compromised.

    • manuelbuencamino on December 14, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Bencard,

    I appreciate your uncritical view of Americans.

    And I noted your highly emotional response to the Equalizer,

    It must be cultural. “You can take Bencab out of the barrio but you can;t take the barrio out of Bencab”, as the old Salem cigarette jingle used to go.

    • manuelbuencamino on December 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    silent waters,

    “Sad to say, nobody is really interested in getting into the bottom of the problem. Being pro or anti is now a matter of perception. Both sides uses self serving surveys to show proof of the “rightness” of their cause.”

    “That’s what is meant by it being hard to believe these surveys. Not because of the people who conducted them but rather because of the people commissioning the survey, whether pro or con.”

    Pulse Asia was paid to conduct a survey. It was not paid to manufacture results.

    If you want to to know whether a survey is credible or not, look at the methodology.

    • vic on December 14, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    That’s what I always advise, readers or users of surveys should always take a good look at all the qualifiers pertaining to the survey; the period or time frame the data were gathered, the events that may have happened before, or duration of the time frame, the regions and the ages of the samples and all others pertinent data that the surveys included, not just the bottom line..

    Like this one, that Gloria is perceived as the most corrupt, but considering that she is at present the favourite headlines, in the t.v. and in every senate investigation, and just also happen to be the President at the helm when the Philippines and its government is also perceived by the TI as the top in the region..so she is the most visible while Marcos is almost just a pigment in some samples recollection and Cory, yes during her tenure was so distracted by many coup attempts and other issues that no one remembers if there was some corruption during her time.

    • Madonna on December 14, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Surveys could only skim the surface of reality. But a view of the surface allows us to go deeper — and exercise critical judgement. Survey findings are meant to be analyzed if they do in fact conform to reality.

    • Silent Waters on December 15, 2007 at 12:15 am

    I do agree. I am not talking about Pulse Asia manufacturing results. I am talking about people’s perception of the survey conductors because of who paid for the surveys, whether pro or anti.

    Point being, there is now suspension of belief from both quarters because they have not been careful. It would have been better if they just didn’t take any politico’s money for doing a survey.

    • Madonna on December 15, 2007 at 12:39 am

    Silent,

    SWS and Pulse Asia are in the business of doing surveys, and they accept clients from all shades of the political spectrum. You are right, it is a war of perception but it is up to us, to tell where the truth really lies. One thing for sure, the gov’t would never commission a survey such as the one commissioned lately by the opposition, because they know that they’d be stupid to do that. But they could pay for anything about a topic that would favor them anytime. It still remains that SWS and Pulse Asia are clean. The thing is, and this is the reality, public opinion is really in general against this administration — the recent survey is one more proof of this plus several ones that charted Gloria’s negative trust ratings and continually plummeting. Those are figures you cannot twist or provide a smokescreen on.

    • DinaPinoy on December 15, 2007 at 3:24 am

    surveys ba ika ninyo?

    ABS-CBN sues AGB Nielsen Media for ‘tainted’ ratings

    By DAVID DIZON
    abs-cbnNEWS.com

    ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. on Friday sued AGB Nielsen Media Research Philippines for continuing to release possibly tainted nationwide TV ratings despite information that metered households used to gauge the ratings might have been bribed.

    ABS-CBN spokesman Bong Osorio said the network filed a case against AGB Nielsen after discovering “a systematic, organized and well funded attempt” to bribe metered households used to gauge viewer behavior and preference.

    “The Filipino people and the entire media industry deserve to know the truth. We in ABS-CBN have discovered what can only be viewed as a systematic, organized and well funded attempt to cheat in the ratings,” ABS-CBN Chairman and CEO Eugenio Lopez III said in a statement.

    Osorio said that to measure TV ratings nationwide, meters are installed in randomly sampled households to check the viewing behavior of people in the areas covered. These households are considered as representative after passing statistical standards set by the research agency.

    “The identity of these metered households is kept secure so that no outside entity can influence their behavior. This ensures that the ratings that come from these homes reflect their true behavior,” Osorio said.

    He said ABS-CBN was approached by a person who confessed that he was hired by another TV network to locate and bribe metered households in Bacolod to switch to a different channel and thus influence TV ratings in that area. ABS-CBN later verified the information with some of the households allegedly approached by the informant.

    • DinaPinoy on December 15, 2007 at 3:35 am

    The Equalizer :
    “whether we like it or not, americans generally are more adept at critical thinking and are more pragmatic than filipinos.”

    yeah,right…George W.Bush as President!lol

    very simplistic. americans = george bush? what about the other american presidents?

    can you also say pinoys=gloria/marcos/erap?

    • DinaPinoy on December 15, 2007 at 3:46 am

    and the americans wanted gore not bush.

    • supremo on December 15, 2007 at 3:58 am

    equalizer,

    Jim Carrey can be President of the US and Americans will still eat 3 times a day. Can you make Ai Ai president and still eat 3 times a day?

    • cvj on December 15, 2007 at 4:19 am

    Jim Carrey can be President of the US? I though he was Canadian?

    • cvj on December 15, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Sorry, ‘though’ = ‘thought’.

    • cvj on December 15, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Here is what Randy David says on the “perception vs. reality” line of defense by Remonde:

    Of course, the Pulse Asia survey measured nothing but public perception. Perception is our only access, as human beings, to the reality of the social and natural worlds. We have no direct knowledge of the reality of the world “as it really is” against which we might compare our perceptions. We can only compare perception with perception, because what we call reality is indeed just another perception.

    This is not to say that therefore all perceptions carry the same weight. What we learn in everyday life is that there are some perceptions we take as truths either because we trust their sources or because they are affirmed in our own encounters with the world, and there are others we dismiss as fantasies because our experience does not support them. This is not as simple as it may sound. Indeed, sociologists spend a lot of time uncovering the many hidden factors that shape our notions of truth and of fantasy. – Randy David, The Reality of Surveys

    Perception is a product of observation. Observations themselves are also capable of being observed, what can be called ‘Second Order’ observations. These second order observations can in turn also be observed by making ‘Third Order’ observations. This process can go on indefinitely to higher order observations.

    The public’s perception of Gloria Arroyo’s corruption is a first order observation. By criticizing the capability of Filipinos to make accurate observations (as compared to Americans), Bencard is attacking the Filipino public (and defending Gloria Arroyo) at this level.

    Pulse Asia’s survey is an observation of the public’s observation. By taking issue with Pulse Asia’s methodology, Ca T is attacking the latter’s second order observation as a means of defending Gloria Arroyo.

    Silent Waters, for his part, focuses on the public’s perception of Pulse Asia’s survey which can be considered a third-order observation.

    Bencard is an all-out supporter. Ca T is an admirer of GMA’s politics but to a lesser degree than Bencard. Silent Waters believes that Gloria is morally compromised but cannot manage to go beyond the interest of his class. From what i observe, Gloria’s apologists choose to operate at different levels of observation depending on how closely they want to be associated with her.

    • Carl on December 15, 2007 at 4:55 am

    If Pulse Asia were to poll Filipinos if they believe that GMA is the anti-christ, what percentage of the respondents would say yes? I think predicting this percentage would not be as hard as anticipating the usual response from both camps.

    For the pro-GMA people, nothing can be as certain as a full plebiscite. For the anti-GMA people, nothing tastes as sweet as being proved right.

    Which really tells us nothing new.

    • Carl on December 15, 2007 at 5:15 am

    Bencard: to be fair with our local polling companies, results of their post-election surveys (asking a sample of voters right after casting their ballot) in the past were accurate in predicting actual election results, especially at the presidential level which predicted FVR, Erap, and GMA’s win. They were also quite accurate at predicting the results of the last senatorial elections.

    • grd on December 15, 2007 at 5:37 am

    if erap is still the SITTING president now and the same survey is conducted, i think he will come out as the most corrupt followed by marcos.

  12. These two are maniacal about mathematical exactness and reliability. In short, I’m sure as hell of the integrity of these two men and the outfits which they head.

    do they have control over the distribution of the questionnaire?

    How do they check their field researchers? Sigurado bang ipinamudomod ito o nakauposa isang fastfood at pinasasagutan sa mga kakilala nila.

    Mathematical calculations in research canbe manipulated too.

  13. Ca T is attacking the latter’s second order observation as a means of defending Gloria Arroyo.

    I am not defending Gloria, I am questioning the validity of the result just like the way I question the inconsistencies in the result of the survey of the reading habits of the Filipinos. Am questioning the research design why a president who was proven to have looted the government with billions was rated lesser corrupt than one who was just accused corruption amounting to several hundred millions of dollars.

    • d0d0ng on December 15, 2007 at 7:01 am

    geesh….we are still on perceptions…..hehe
    Let me challenge the supporters of negative perceptions.

    Let us assume those negative perceptions are true and representative of the 90 million Filipinos. Then there should be no problem applying that to remove Gloria Arroyo through constitutional means as disclosed in the survey. The 10 of 12 Supreme Court justices already indicated in 2007 that RA6735 can be used in amending certain provision in the Constitution but not revisions (changing the form) like Chacha. RA6735 can be used to amend the term of the President from 6 years to 4 years which will effectively end Gloria Arroyo’s term in 2008. Sweet! We need only 3% of each voting district and so far the negative perceptions across the board is over 40% in the farthest area. Technically, those overwhelming negative perceptions must be able to hold up in each voting district.

    Please tell me if those perceptions can really translate to 3% of each voting district. If not, then those perceptions is as good as any political stunts and cannot be taken seriously at face value.

    • d0d0ng on December 15, 2007 at 7:07 am

    Let us be proactive of the negative perceptions.
    If the survey is true, then let us amend the president term to 4 years through people’s initiative requiring 3% of each voting district.

    • Bencard on December 15, 2007 at 9:09 am

    buencamino, i think i’ve been infected by your “barrio” ways reflected in your your posts and articles (yeah, yeah, i see them from time to time through mlq3). lol.
    you have problem about my comparison with americans? would you like me to compare pinoys with the british, the french, australians or canadians, or would you rather have comparison with asian neigbors, japan, singapore or even malasia?

    cvj, and where do you put benignO, who is persistently critical of pinoy’s lack of depth in analyzing issues that affect their lives, including politics (critical thinking), to which view i happen to agree? just because i admire gma’s leadership qualities and overall performance, i cannot echo benigno’s analysis in relation to an incredible survey result? how can you put any value to a perception that defies reason, i.e., gma worst than marcos or erap? c’mon.

    • vic on December 15, 2007 at 9:26 am

    Just like every President of International Committee ( Juan Antonio Samaranch, in mind)closing remarks during every closing ceremony of the last Olympic..The Best Ever

    • ramrod on December 15, 2007 at 10:58 am

    THE FALLACY OF NUMBERS

    I initially tended to disagree with the creation of a new movement, like N29M and other views on diversity of movements mostly due to the apparent futility of all these oust GMA movements that have been at it for years already, and the impact on the people of these failures psychologically is a “learned helplessness” or what we commonly call “apathy.” Its basically a desired response to a stimulus that is continously denied positive reinforcement, so it dies (in psychological parlance becomes an extinct behaviour). If we allow things to go their natural course we will see so many flashes in the pan – at least thats what I fear. But I may be wrong…So following MLQ3’s cue, I tried to look for historical parallels and I found some in Thoreau. I apologize for posting the whole article, here it is…

    THE PROBLEM WITH REFORMERS

    Thoreau specifically addresses fellow abolitionists who called for the immediate cessation of slavery. Instead of petitioning the government to dissolve the Union with slaveholders, Thoreau believed those reformers should dissolve “the union between themselves and the State,— and refuse to pay their quota into its treasury.” Petitions only strengthened the authority of the government by recognizing its authority and honoring the will of the majority. “[Any] man more right than his neighbors constitutes a majority of one already,” he observes.

    The reformers who petition government for permission “love better to talk” about justice than to act on it. Thus, Thoreau concludes, “Reform keeps many scores of newspapers in its service, but not one man.” To men who prefer a safe strategy, voting becomes a substitute for action and politics becomes a sort of game, like checkers or backgammon, only with a slight moral tinge.

    To Thoreau, anyone willing to leave moral decisions to the will of the majority is not really concerned that right should prevail. When resisting the poll tax, he did not consult the majority; he acted. If he had allowed the majority to decide whether or not he should pay, by his own standards he would have shown no regard for what is right.

    Moreover, Thoreau considers voting to be a poor vehicle for reform because voting follows real change; it does not precede or cause it. “When the majority shall at length vote for the abolition of slavery,” he writes, “it will be because they are indifferent to slavery, or because there is but little slavery left to be abolished by their vote.” As for the other means that the state provides for changes to itself, they are extraordinarily slow. Thoreau notes, “They take too much time, and a man’s life will be gone.”

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