Most Filipinos don't expect Arroyo to tell truth in key speech

Other News Materials 25 July 2008 08:43 (UTC +04:00)

Forty per cent of Filipinos do not expect Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to tell the truth in a key speech in Congress next week, a nationwide survey showed on Friday.

Pulse Asia Inc, which conducted the poll, said there was an 11-point increase in the proportion of people anticipating Arroyo's State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday to be untruthful.

Only 14 per cent of 1,200 respondents nationwide expected Arroyo to be truthful in her annual speech, during which aides said she will highlight the government's social welfare programmes.

Forty-six per cent were not sure whether the president would be truthful or not, the survey said.

Pulse Asia said public skepticism over Arroyo's truthfulness would make it "difficult for her to maximize her forthcoming SONA's political value."

Last week, a separate public opinion survey showed that 60 per cent of Filipinos are dissatisfied with Arroyo's performance amid skyrocketing food and fuel prices.

The president's aides urged critics to listen first to the SONA before making a judgement.

"The president will do what she thinks she needs to do, irrespective of what the skeptics say," Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said.

Thousands of policemen and soldiers are expected to be deployed around Manila on Monday, when various organizations have planned to hold street demonstrations coinciding with the SONA.

Major General Arsenio Arugay, chief of military forces in Manila, warned earlier in the week that intelligence reports showed that communist rebels have dispatched assassins in the capital ahead of the speech.

"We have received reports that they are going to conduct some liquidation activities in metro Manila," he said, adding that the targets allegedly include military and police officials.

Arugay, however said there was "no specific information" on a threat against Arroyo's life. Authorities have in the past warned that the rebels were targeting the president for assassination, dpa reported.