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Politics

Duterte's public support falls amid killings in drug war

Philippine president's satisfaction, trust scores slip from high levels

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's net satisfaction rating from the public fell during the third quarter to the lowest of his presidency.   © Reuters

MANILA -- Support for President Rodrigo Duterte slid last quarter, falling to the lowest of his presidency by one measure even though two-thirds of the Philippine public remains satisfied with the leader, local pollster Social Weather Stations said Sunday.

The July-September survey by SWS found that 67% of Filipinos were satisfied with the president, while 19% were dissatisfied and 14% were undecided. Those scores produce a net satisfaction rating of 48%, the lowest during Duterte's time in office and down 18 points from the record-high 66% measured for the previous quarter.

Duterte's trust rating also deteriorated. The president recorded a net trust rating of 60%, plummeting 15 points from the 75% score in the previous quarter. In the new poll, 73% of Filipinos reported having "much trust" in him, versus 12% citing "little trust" and 15% who were undecided. The net rating is rounded for accuracy.

The poll, conducted Sept. 23-27 via face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide, came just a few days after pockets of protests in the country to condemn the slew of killings in Duterte's brutal war on drugs as well as what his opponents call the return to an "authoritarian regime."

Killings of young drug suspects gained heavy media attention during the three-month period. Kian delos Santos, a 17-year-old high school student, was killed during an anti-drug operation in August. The National Bureau of Investigation later alleged that police planted evidence on Delos Santos and intentionally killed him.

In the same month, Paolo Duterte, the president's son and vice mayor of Davao city, was linked to a drug smuggling case in September. The vice mayor has denied his involvement.

In July, lawmakers approved the extension of martial law on the island of Mindanao until Dec. 31 as Philippine troops struggled to wipe out Islamic State-linked militants who occupied parts of a southern city in May. More than 800 people have died in the ongoing battle.

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