Chief Justice Renato Corona's lawyers have accused Social Weather Stations of manipulating a survey claiming 46 percent of Filipinos believe the impeached chief justice should be ousted even if acquitted by the Senate.
In a statement sent to the media, lawyer Karen Jimeno cast doubt on SWS's survey saying the questions asked were flawed. "The question whether the people would support people power in the event of a Senate acquittal tries to condition the minds of the people not to accept anything other than conviction," she said.
She said pollsters should "avoid leading questions, false premises, questions asking future intentions, and even questions beyond a respondent’s capabilities."
Tranquil Salvador III, also a Corona lawyer, meanwhile said an earlier SWS survey showed few people know enough about the impeachment case. "For example, only a miniscule 8 percent or 34 of the 1,200 respondents know a great deal about the impeachment," he said.
Corona's defense team also said the survey--conducted March 10 to 13--asked respondents who did not have enough information to base their opinions on. The Senate impeachment court has been on recess since March 23 and will resume the trial on May 7. The defense panel has yet to finish presenting its evidence.
Corona himself has called the survey "part of the black propaganda and mind-conditioning."
"The timing of the release of this report is highly unfortunate. We are in a six-week Senate impeachment recess, and the camp of the Chief Justice has displayed sincerity for an impeachment ceasefire," Salvador said.
President Benigno Aquino III, during the Lenten break, said he would not attack either Corona or Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He said he would pray for them instead.
Yahoo! Southeast Asia tried to reach SWS for comment but has yet to receive a response. It said on its website, however, that "Social Weather Survey items on the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona are non-commissioned items." The questions were included on the survey on SWS's own initiative and released as a public service, it said.
"SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data-processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations," it also said.