Marcos Jr. administration

Marcos downplays impact of Sara Duterte’s Cabinet exit on Uniteam coalition

Dwight de Leon

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Marcos downplays impact of Sara Duterte’s Cabinet exit on Uniteam coalition

CIVIL. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte during the distribution of land e-titles to qualified beneficiaries in Davao City on February 7, 2024.


President Marcos adds his administration is planning to name Vice President Sara Duterte's replacement as education secretary by the end of the week

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. tried to play down the impact of Vice President Sara Duterte’s exit from his Cabinet on the broad administration coalition that he forged in the past elections.

Marcos downplays impact of Sara Duterte’s Cabinet exit on Uniteam coalition

In his first media interview since Duterte resigned as Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, Marcos insisted the parties that made up the Uniteam remain intact.

As to the parties involved, pareho pa rin ang Uniteam, hindi pa nagbago,” Marcos said on Thursday, June 27. “Depende lang kung ano iyong positioning ni Inday Sara pagdating sa election, siya ba ay nasa administrasyon o siya ba ay nasa oposisyon. That will be the only major determinant.”

(The parties involved in the Uniteam have not changed. It would just depend on how Inday Sara would position herself in the 2025 elections. Will she be part of the administration or opposition? That will be the only major determinant.)

Duterte’s regional party in 2022 was Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which was part of the Uniteam alliance, but for the national elections, Duterte ran under the banner of Lakas CMD, which was also part of that broad coalition.

“She came in as Lakas, pero umalis din siya sa Lakas (although she also resigned later). That’s what I’m saying. Kung saan siya papanig (What side she will take), that will be the biggest change in the Uniteam,” he added.

Duterte resigned from her posts in the DepEd and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on June 19, signaling her decision to break political ties with the Marcos administration, although she did not give a reason for her exit.

“I asked her, are there any particular reasons why she has chosen to resign from the Department of Education and the NTF-ELCAC, and she said ‘Huwag na lang natin pag-usapan (Let’s not talk about it)’ so I did not force the issue,” Marcos recalled.

The administration is targeting an announcement of the new DepEd chief by the end of the week, he added.

‘It’s a free country’

After the Vice President’s exit from the Cabinet, she casually disclosed in a media interview that her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and her brothers, Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, would all run for the Senate in 2025.

Sara also claimed that Sebastian is eyeing a presidential run in 2028.

For Marcos, nothing is final until they have officially thrown their hat into the ring.

“It’s a free country. They’re allowed to do whatever they want. I really have no reaction to it, and besides, it’s still early,” he said. “Ang dami pang mangyayari (Many things coul d happen) between now and 2028.”

“The only real situation will become clear in October, during the filing,” he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Marcoses and the Dutertes are two major political families in the Philippines, and both dynasties from opposite ends of the Philippines have historical ties that bind.

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After the elections, clues of infighting between Sara and Marcos’ allies began to spill into public view, such as her resignation from Lakas CMD, the House’s denial of her request for confidential funds, and her public opposition to charter change and reboot of peace talks with the communists.

In January, Marcos and Sara’s father Rodrigo publicly threw drug accusations against each other, and in April, First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos admitted she was not in good terms with the Vice President. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.