MANILA (Reuters) – Public trust in Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte dropped to the lowest of his presidency, a survey showed on Saturday, although he still maintained a rating of “very good”.
Trust is used by independent pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS) to gauge public opinion with a president’s personality.
It fell 8 points in the second quarter to +57 from +65 in an earlier poll. It was the popular leader’s lowest score in nine surveys taken since he took office in June 2016.
To reach each rating, the surveys subtract the percentage who respond with “low trust” in Duterte from those who said they had “much trust” in him.
SWS surveyed 1,200 people at the end of June, in a week when Duterte called God “stupid” during a verbal assault on the Catholic Church after top priests criticised his bloody anti-narcotics campaign, which has killed thousands of people.
The Philippines is majority Catholic.
Duterte again hit out at the church in a news conference on Saturday, calling priests’ groups “the most hypocritical institution in the Philippines today”, with the church facing child abuse cases in the Philippines and elsewhere.
Ramon Casiple, head of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms in Manila, said it was normal for a president’s rating to fall at the two-year stage of his term.
The survey did not ask respondents to explain their rating. Duterte had enjoyed high trust ratings, peaking at +79 shortly after taking office.
Duterte did not mention the survey results on Saturday and his office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty)