Survey showed Filipinos wanted President Cory to use revo powers on Hacienda Luisita
By Raïssa Robles
It is not everyday that the scholarly Dr. Mahar Mangahas reacts to blog posts.
And so I deem it an honor that he reacted to mine entitled Secret SWS survey told President Cory – most Filipinos want Hacienda Luisita land distributed
And I would, as he offered, love to have a scanned copy of his article entitled “Public Opinion on Land Reform” to post on my website.
In an e-mail he sent to this blog, Dr. Mangahas, in so many words confirmed that his polling outfit did conduct a survey to find out what Filipinos thought about then President Corazon Aquino using her revolutionary powers to compel the redistribution of sugar lands like the Hacienda Luisita owned by her own family.
But he wanted to make some clarifications and objected to my use of the word “secret”.
Here is his letter:
Dear Ms. Robles,
The survey figures that you cite are not secret. They may be seen in the Ateneo-SWS Public Opinion Reports: October 1986 and March 1987, published in 1987, available in the SWS Library and presumably also in the Ateneo Library. On pp. 75-85 of this published report is my article, “Public Opinion on Land Reform,” which discusses the many items on land reform that were included in the March 1987 survey; I will have the article scanned and sent to you.
None of the surveys of the joint SWS-Ateneo project of 1986-87 were secret. Prior to publication of survey materials, it is customary to label research work as “preliminary and confidential”; such preliminary work is often presented to pertinent government officials for their information and guidance. Whether the March 1987 survey findings on Hacienda Luisita were ever brought to the personal attention of Pres. Cory Aquino, either before or after publication, is something I do not know.
It is also misleading to refer to SWS as a “private pollster”. SWS is a non-stock, non-profit research organization doing surveys both non-commissioned (open) and commissioned (temporarily for exclusive use of the sponsor; archived and ultimately open). The March 1987 survey you cite was non-commissioned and open.
Here’s my reply:
About the survey figures being secret
Perhaps I should have put in better context what I meant by the word “secret”.
My scanned documents came from an actual copy of the survey which I obtained while covering the Senate starting when it opened its first session on July 1, 1987.
The survey was carrried out March 1987 and the “preliminary and confidential results” were available by May 5, 1987, but only to a select group of people.
As Dr. Mangahas explained, “such preliminary work is often presented to pertinent government officials for their information and guidance.” The survey results, as you said, are now openly available to the general public.
I do not recall the “preliminary and confidential results” being made widely available at a time when they greatly mattered most to the entire nation.
Or between March and June 30, 1987 when then President Aquino had this window of opportunity to order a genuine land reform program using her revolutionary powers. She didn’t.
Whether the March 1987 survey findings on Hacienda Luisita were ever brought to the personal attention of Pres. Cory Aquino, either before or after publication, is something I do not know.
I also do not know that. But this is what I do know. A Palace insider told me that Mrs Aquino was put under immense pressure by her two brothers to exclude sugar lands from the land reform program and to leave the matter to Congress, which turned out to be landlord-dominated.
Again, I repeat, between March 1987 when the SWS findings became available and June 30, 1987, Mrs Aquino had this golden opportunity to use her revolutionary powers. She didn’t.
I believe there would have been more public pressure on her had the survey findings been known publicly.
About the use of the word “private pollster” to describe SWS
Dr. Mangahas said: “It is also misleading to refer to SWS as a ‘private pollster’ [because] SWS is a non-stock, non-profit research organization….
Sir, the description “private pollster” appended to SWS has always been used by foreign wire agencies, my newspaper South China Morning Post and local newspapers and TV stations. All it means is that the pollster is not state-funded but funded and run by private individuals. Non-stock, non-profit organizations fall under that category.
You can see below that I’m in good company:
I will be waiting to receive a scanned copy from Dr. Mangahas’ article on land reform. :)