Pulse Asia Research, Inc. is pleased to share with you some findings on the Performance Ratings of the Top Philippine Government Officials from the December 2021 Ulat ng Bayan national survey. We request you to assist us in informing the public by disseminating this information.

The survey fieldwork was conducted from December 1 – 6, 2021 using face-to-face interviews.

During the weeks immediately prior to and during interviews for the December 2021 Ulat ng Bayan survey, news related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the May 2022 elections dominated the headlines. Among these were the following:

1. Several days before the 15 November 2021 deadline for withdrawal and substitution for next year’s national elections, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte withdrew her certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor and, subsequently, resigned from her political party, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP). On 13 November 2021, the latter filed her COC for vice-president under Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), replacing the party’s original vice-presidential candidate, Mr. Lyle Uy. And on 16 November 2021, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the presidential candidate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), announced that his party has formed an alliance with the Lakas-CMD, and as such, he will be running together with the Davao City Mayor for the top posts in the coming elections.

Despite his October 2021 announcement that he would be retiring from politics at the end of his term, President Rodrigo R. Duterte filed his COC for senator on 15 November 2021. The President replaced Ms. Mona Liza Vizorde in the senatorial line-up of the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). For his part, Senator Christopher Go, who was supposed to run for the vice-presidential post under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), replaced Dr. Grepor Belgica as the standard bearer of the PDDS. However, on 30 November 2021, Senator Go withdrew from the May 2022 presidential election.[1] Following the lawmaker’s decision not to pursue his presidential bid, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso expressed hope that President Duterte would endorse him and welcomed help from the President or anyone else willing to support his campaign. Former Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party (Akbayan) Party-List Representative Walden Bello also joined the May 2022 vice-presidential race under the Laban ng Masa (LNM) as he substituted for Ms. Raquel Castillo.

2. During a televised speech on 18 November 2021, President Duterte alleged that a presidential candidate, whom he described as “a very weak leader”, is a cocaine user. The President added that the said candidate belongs to a wealthy family and has a well-known father. Despite saying that he does not feel alluded to, former Senator Marcos took a drug test on 22 November 2021 and submitted his negative drug test result to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). PNP Chief Dionardo Bernardo Carlos has ordered an investigation into candidates for national and local posts who will test positive for drugs.

3. Two more petitions for the disqualification of ex-Senator Marcos were filed before the COMELEC on 02 December 2021. The Akbayan petition claims that the former lawmaker is perpetually barred from running for public office as a result of his having been convicted in 1995 for failing to file income tax returns (ITRs). This is the same ground for disqualification cited by several groups of martial law victims in their own petition filed before the COMELEC in early November 2021. On the other hand, the petition filed by National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Abubakar Mangelen, who says he is the chairperson of the political party under which former Senator Marcos is running, seeks to nullify the COC of the latter because he was never an officer or member of the PFP. In response, the camp of ex-Senator Marcos dismissed these disqualification cases as part of the efforts of “one group” to derail his presidential bid.

4. Amidst questions raised by concerned sectors regarding the contract entered into by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) with F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc., a company tied to Mr. Dennis Uy, for the distribution of ballots, vote-counting machines (VCMs), and other supplies for the May 2022 elections, the poll body said it sees no reason to rescind the said contract. In a tweet, COMELEC Spokesperson James Jimenez pointed out that “at no point (in the delivery process) is the logistics provider able to tamper with the election outcome”. Mr. Uy was one of President Duterte’s key campaign contributors during the May 2016 elections.

5. With regard to the voters’ list for the next elections, the COMELEC said as of 18 October 2021, about 62 million adults are registered to vote in May 2022, with more than half of them belonging to the country’s youth sector. Around 5 million voters will be casting their ballot for the first time. The total number of registered voters is still expected to increase with the addition of the names of those who registered during the last two (2) weeks of voters’ registration in October 2021.

As for the list of candidates for the election of party list representatives, through its Resolution No. 10735 dated 01 December 2021, the poll body denied the motion for reconsideration of 107 party-list groups intending to participate in the May 2022 elections and allowed the participation of 165 groups, organizations, and coalitions in the raffle to be held on 10 December 2021 to determine the order in which their names will appear on the official ballot. Meanwhile, on 10 November 2021, the COMELEC promulgated Resolution No. 10727 that will provide an increase of at least P 2,000 in the honoraria and other allowances to be received by teachers and other poll workers serving in next year’s polls.

6. Amidst the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, the COMELEC issued stricter campaign rules for those running in the May 2022 elections. Candidates are permitted to use all virtual means to campaign provided they register their verified social media pages and accounts as well as websites with the COMELEC’s education and information department. Furthermore, those organizing in-person campaign activities, which will be allowed only in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and below, are required to submit a notarized “Affidavit of Compliance with Health Protocols” within 24 hours of holding such activities. Local government units (LGUs) will be given the authority to issue permits for campaign activities. Failure to follow COVID-19 health protocols will be considered an election violation that could lead to the disqualification of a candidate.

7. As far as the COVID-19 situation is concerned, the Philippines has experienced a decline in the number of reported positive cases with more Filipinos getting vaccinated. Also, the Department of Health (DOH) disclosed that as of 05 December 2021, it has recorded 49,386 deaths due to COVID-19, or 1.74% of the country’s total number of reported cases. Meanwhile, the Duterte administration embarked on a nationwide vaccination campaign from 29 November to 03 December 2021 amidst the global spread of the Omicron variant. During this vaccination drive, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that almost 10 million Filipinos got their COVID-19 jabs. Government data show that as of 01 December 2021, over 55 million individuals are already partially vaccinated while nearly 37 million are fully vaccinated. The country aims to have 54 million individuals fully vaccinated by the end of 2021. The national administration has also started giving booster shots to all qualified adults, with priority being given to medical frontliners and senior citizens, as well as first doses to those aged 12 to 17 years old. Additional supplies of the AstraZeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, Sinovac, and Sputnik V vaccines also arrived in the country in November 2021 and first week of December 2021.

To further improve the national vaccination rate, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año warned that LGUs underperforming in the country’s vaccination drive will face appropriate charges. In addition, the DILG proposed that to address vaccine hesitancy especially outside Metro Manila, unvaccinated 4Ps beneficiaries not be given their cash subsidies unless they get a COVID-19 jab. However, Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon said the DILG cannot implement its proposal without amending the law that provides for the distribution of subsidies to qualified citizens.

8. On 11 November 2021, President Duterte signed an executive order providing for the implementation of an alert level system for COVID-19 response across the country. To be done in four (4) phases, the use of the alert level system “would allow for the reinvigoration of the economy … while protecting the people’s health”, according to Executive Order No. 151. Metro Manila, the pilot region for the system in September 2021, remained under Alert Level 2 until 30 November 2021, later extended to 15 December 2021. Most parts of the country were also placed under the same alert level from 01 to 15 December 2021.

9. To prevent the entry of the Omicron variant into the Philippines, the Duterte administration backtracked on its earlier decision to allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country beginning 01 December 2021. The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) also imposed a ban on arrival from several African nations as well as the suspension of flights from seven (7) European countries. Following the warning issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa, poses a “very high” global risk, various countries across the globe began closing their borders once again.[2]

10. In connection with the memorandum by President Duterte prohibiting administration officials from participating in hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee concerning the use of the government’s COVID-19 response funds, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and other Senate leaders filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Supreme Court on 11 November 2021. The Senate leadership asked the High Court not only to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against President Duterte’s October 2021 memorandum but also to nullify the “unconstitutional” presidential order altogether.

Two (2) officials of Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corporation, a private company at the center of the Senate investigation into the misuse of the government’s COVID-19 response funds, were arrested on 14 November 2021 in Davao City. Pharmally President Twinkle Dargani and Pharmally Corporate Secretary and Treasurer Mohit Dargani were arrested while preparing to depart for Kuala Lumpur via a chartered flight. The warrants of arrest for them were issued in October 2021 after they refused to submit to the Senate financial documents having to do with their transactions with government. While in detention at the Senate, the Pharmally officials were visited by a lawyer from the Office of the Special Assistant to the President on 16 November 2021. For her part, Senator Risa Hontiveros disclosed that the Dargani siblings paid about P 1.8 M for their foiled chartered flight to Malaysia, which raises questions regarding their tax payments and actual incomes from their contracts with government. On 29 November 2021, Pharmally Corporate Secretary Dargani and Pharmally Director Linconn Ong, who has been in the Senate’s custody since 21 September 2021, were transferred to the Pasay City Jail.

In a related development, former Presidential Economic Adviser Michael Yang filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court on 25 November 2021. The latter, who has refused to comply with the Senate’s request for him to produce documents pertaining to his properties, asked the High Court to nullify the Senate arrest orders and the lookout bulletin order that have been issued against him arising from his alleged ties with Pharmally. In the case of former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao, the Senate’s Office of the Sergeant at Arms (OSAA) failed to serve an arrest warrant against him in mid-November 2021 as he went into hiding. The latter had written earlier to the Senate asking for a reconsideration of the arrest warrant issued against him but Senator Gordon said the former DBM official’s non-appearance in four (4) hearings forced them to cite him in contempt.

11. On 16 November 2021, Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and water cannoned two (2) Philippine boats delivering supplies to military personnel stationed in the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal that is part of the Kalayaan Group of Islands. China alleged that these boats were trespassing into its territory and demanded that the BRP Sierra Madre be removed from the area. In response, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenza argued that it was the Chinese vessels that were intruding into Philippine waters since the Ayungin Shoal lies within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Moreover, the DND Secretary denied China’s claim that the Philippines made a commitment to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from the said area. President Duterte raised the Ayungin Shoal incident during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Special Summit held on 22 November 2021, during which he reiterated the need to respect the rule of law and to resolve the dispute through peaceful means. Amidst the latest tension between the Philippines and China, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States (US) reaffirmed their support for the Philippines and the ruling issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on 12 July 2016 that invalidated China’s nine-dash line territorial claim in the South China Sea (SCS).

12. After more than a year of distance learning, face-to-face classes resumed in 100 public schools across the country on 15 November 2021, with 18 private schools doing the same the following week. On 06 December 2021, grade school and senior high school students in 28 public schools in Metro Manila began attending limited face-to-face classes. Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Nepomuceno Malaluan said there are plans to expand face-to-face classes in all grade levels by January 2022 if the pilot run proves to be successful.

13. In response to a 10 November 2021 letter from the Philippine government requesting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer its probe into the Duterte administration’s “war on drugs”, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said they will suspended all related investigative activities as the ICC “assesses the scope and effect of the Deferral Request”. The Philippine government’s request is anchored on its claim that there are already ongoing investigations into the killings arising from President Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs. Despite its request for the ICC to defer its probe, Malacañang Palace continues to maintain that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the Philippine government since it has already withdrawn from the international body. Meanwhile, the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) formally requested the ICC to lift the suspension of its probe into the situation in the Philippines as it argued that the so-called “investigations” being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) only involves reviewing the documents concerning 52 alleged drug-related killings from 2016 to 2020 shared by the PNP with the DOJ.

14. On 01 December 2021, the Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading the proposed P 5.024 T national budget for 2022 as provided for in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill or House Bill No. 10153. In light of the threat posed by the Omicron variant, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, pointed out that the DOH will receive a budget of about P 230 B in the Senate’s version of the national budget, more than the P 182 B provided for by the House of Representatives.[3]

This will permit the agency to grant higher allowances and benefits to medical frontliners and to more efficiently respond to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

This nationwide survey is based on a sample of 2,400 representative adults 18 years old and above. It has a ± 2% error margin at the 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for each of the geographic areas covered in the survey (i.e., Metro Manila, the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) have a ± 4% error margin, also at 95% confidence level. Those interested in further technical details may refer to our website (www.pulseasia.ph)

Pulse Asia Research’s pool of academic fellows takes full responsibility for the design and conduct of the survey, as well as for analyses it makes based on the survey data. In keeping with our academic nature, no religious, political, economic, or partisan group influenced any of these processes. Pulse Asia Research undertakes Ulat ng Bayan surveys on its own without any party singularly commissioning the research effort.

For any clarification or questions, kindly contact Ana Maria Tabunda, Research Director of Pulse Asia Research at 09189436816 or Ronald D. Holmes, Pulse Asia Research President via Viber or Telegram at +639189335497 or at ronald.holmes@gmail.com (via email).


[1]Although Senator Go publicly announced his withdrawal from next year’s presidential race on 30 November 2021, it was only on 14 December 2021 that he made this formal by personally submitting his statement of withdrawal to the COMELEC office. On the same day, President Duterte also went to the COMELEC office to formalize his withdrawal from the senatorial race.

[2]The Philippines recorded its first cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant on 14 December 2021, with two (2) inbound passengers testing positive for the said variant.

[3]The final version of the 2022 budget was approved by both chambers of Congress on 15 December 2021. In the 2022 GAA ratified by the Bicameral Conference Committee, the DOH ended up with P 188.3 B, much lower than the P 230.11 B the Senate allocated for the agency in its version of the budget.