Following the lead of a student organization in the University of the Philippines (UP), an alliance of student councils also conducted a survey which showed that there was a high distrust for Chief Jusice Renato Corona among students of at least five universities in the country.
At a press conference on Monday, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) revealed that majority of student-respondents from the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), Ateneo de Davao (ADDU), University of the East (UE) Manila and Tarlac State Unversity (TSU) show strong distrust for Corona.
According to the survey, 41 percent of students from ADMU; 69.3 percent of students from DLSU; 77 percent of students from UE; 75.4 percent of students from TSU; and 78.3 percent of students from ADDU no longer trust the chief justice.
The poll likewise showed that 45 percent of students from ADMU; 63 percent of students from DLSU; 56.4 percent of students from UE; 76.8 percent of students from TSU; and 76.7 percent of students from ADDU think Corona should no longer remain in office.
“It is safe to say that Corona is suffering from a serious lack of trust and credibility from the students surveyed or those who have an opinion on the matter. Also, majority of students don’t think he should remain as chief justice,” the SCAP said in its analysis and recommendations.
But it said that the “substantial” percentage of students still udecided or have yet to form an opinion about the issue should serve as a challenge to Corona to “come clean.”
“We reiterate our call to the chief justice to open his dollar acounts, take a leave of absence and testify before the impeachment court. We believe if he will continue to avoid acting on these demands or continue to hide behind legal technicalities, those that are undecided will eventually shift to the anti-Corona camp. This could be a potential game changer,” the group said.
The following number of respondents were surveyed by SCAP:
- 410 from ADMU (out of 8,500 students),
- 300 from DLSU (out of 12,000 students),
- 500 from UE (out of 13,000 students),
- 500 from TSU (out of 14,000 students), and
- 300 from ADDU (out of 14,000 students).
The surveys were all conducted in March. Not official stand of universities
But Moses Albiento, an Ateneo student leader, stressed that the survey is a just a “reflection” of the opinion of students and not the official stand of the universities.Still, Albiento maintained that even though their sample size is small, the results represent the popular sentiment among the students.
“[At least for the Ateneo there] is 95 percent confidence level and 4.72 margin of error,” he said.
SCAP secretary general Gibby Torres likewise said they just adopted the survey conducted by the University of the Philippines Paralegal Society and made some modifications with the help of the schools surveyed and the Ateneo Statistics Circle.
“This [survey] was inspired by a survey conducted by UP Diliman. Ito po ay binanatan noon ni Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago at Senator Juan Ponce Enrile pero po para sa amin, ang pagsasagawa ng survey ay isa ayon din sa mga numerous ruling ng Supreme Court, protektado ito ng batas under the freedom of expression,” he said.
In an earlier interview with reporters, Enrile advised UP students to just focus on their studies instead of on surveys since no UP student made it to the top 10 of the Bar exams this year.
“Mag-aral muna sila para mag-top sila sa bar bago sila. Being an alumnus of UP, yun ang advice ko sa kanila. Bago kayo magbibigay ng, magbibitaw ng salita, show us, show us that you deserve to make that statement by your performance,” he said.
Last February, Santiago also said UP should kick out its students who were behind a survey showing Corona no longer enjoys the trust of many students. She added that the survey was probably just part of a propaganda because the results were released even before the defense team had a chance to present their evidence.
But Torres said that like the UP Paralegal Society, they have no motive in the “timing” of the release of the survey results.
“Ang gusto lang namin malaman yung pulso ng mga estudyante. Sa tingin namin, hindi ito paghuhusga na mismo kay Chief Justice Corona,” he said.
He added that they are not scared of Santiago because it was within their right to conduct a survey since they are not parties to the impeachment trial.
Torres added that there are still several member-schools which have yet to release the results of their own surveys. He said the five schools presented on Monday, which were also approached because of their large population, were just first to submit their results.