Palace questions polls, mulls legal options vs survey firms

Malacañang is considering its options on what “legal actions” to take against firms behind at least two recent surveys that showed unsavory public perception for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol said this is aside from the investigation being pushed by Sen. Miriam Santiago against survey firm Pulse Asia.

“Yes, definitely we are questioning it because they are not independent, they are not impartial, they are biased,” Apostol said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He also said he informed Mrs Arroyo of the “legal options” but said she did not show any reaction. “She does not usually show reaction,” he said.

However, Apostol admitted that the administration is still “studying” the options it would take against Pulse Asia, and possibly Social Weather Stations (SWS).

As of now, he said the Palace is open to having SWS investigated for its survey which showed that Mrs Arroyo got a –16 net satisfaction rating in a survey conducted November 30 to December 3.

The SWS survey said this was despite a 54-percent approval for President Arroyo’s granting of pardon to her predecessor, former President Joseph Estrada, whom the graft court sentenced to life imprisonment for plunder.

Paimbestiga rin natin (We will have it investigated too),” Apostol said, noting Santiago is already pushing for a separate investigation of Pulse Asia’s survey.

The Pulse Asia survey, conducted October 20 to 31, showed that 42 percent of Filipinos believed Mrs Arroyo is the “most corrupt [president] in the history of the Philippines.”

Second was the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos with 35 percent; Estrada with 16 percent; and Fidel Ramos with 5 percent. Corazon Aquino was deemed the “least corrupt.”

“Most surveys are biased, depending on who commissions it. In the Pulse Asia case, former Sen. Sergio Osmeña III admitted paying for it, so it’s no wonder the results were in favor of the opposition,” Apostol said.

When told that the SWS survey was not commissioned, Apostol said, “we’re studying its legal aspect.”

Asked if the Palace is also mulling legal action against SWS, he said, “ganoon na nga (that’s it).”

For her part, Pulse Asia executive director Ana Maria Tabunda said her group is ready for any investigation.

Tabunda maintained that Pulse Asia uses scientific methods and can back its findings.

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. If Apostol doubts our credibility, then there are others who don’t. Our procedures are scientific and we can prove we conducted interviews,” she said.

She also contested Apostol’s claim that commissioned surveys are biased, saying the only difference between a commissioned survey and a non-commissioned one is that the person who commissioned the survey has the right to make it public or not to release it.

“If the results don’t favor the one who commissioned the survey, the results will not likely be made public,” she said.

“We have had our share of candidates who commissioned our survey but join in berating us if the survey is not in their favor,” she added.



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