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MANILA, Philippines – Former president Rodrigo Duterte warned that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. could be ousted like his late dictator father if his administration pursues moves to amend the charter.
In a prayer rally in Davao City on Sunday, January 28, Duterte said that Marcos is entering treacherous territory, and that the push for charter change will divide the nation.
“Pumapasok kayo ng alanganin, Mr. President, baka susunod ka sa dinaanan ng tatay mo [at] diyan ako takot, ayoko mangyari sa iyo iyan,” he said. “Ako naman nagmamakaawa kasi it will divide the nation at magdugo itong panahon na ito.”
(You’re entering treacherous territory, Mr. President, and you might go through what your father experienced. That’s what I’m afraid of. I do not want that to happen to you. That’s why I’m begging, this will divide the nation and it will be bloody.)
The dictator Marcos was ousted from office after thousands trooped to the streets to join the People Power Revolt in 1986. It ended the more than two decades rule of Marcos, whose reign was marked with violence and corruption.
Duterte’s warning is the latest in the ongoing rift between his family and allies, and the Marcos administration, which has been taken to another level amid the reported efforts to change the Constitution through a people’s initiative.
Duterte, speaking during the event, said that there is “nothing wrong with the Constitution right now,” and questioned the motivation behind the recent push to amend it.
He called on the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help protect the Constitution.
“Kapag pinilit mo ito, lalabas ka ng Malacañang kagaya noong panahon na pinalayas kayo,” Duterte said.
“Kung hindi na talaga ito mapigilan, nandiyan ang military pati pulis, makinig kayo, pag-aralan ninyo kung ano iyang pinapakain nila sa taongbayan, at kapag nakita ninyo na kung anong mali, you correct it, nasa inyong kamay na iyan,” he added.
(If you insist on it, you will leave Malacañang the same way your father and your family did. If this cannot be stopped, the military and police are there, and they should see what you are feeding the masses, and if they see something wrong, they will correct it.)
In a statement titled “On the AFP’s Commitment to National Transformation,” AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military would be the “vanguard” of Marcos’ promised “national transformation,” referring to the Bagong Pilipinas push.
The top general promised the AFP would “remain to be a highly professional military organization, loyal to the Constitution, the chain of command, and our People.”
“The AFP shall continue to be united, competent, capable, and non-partisan – steadfast and committed to our mandate of protecting our People and securing our State from all threats, foreign and domestic,” Brawner said.
He also reminded soldiers to “remaining focused on our mission, true to the tradition of bravery, duty, loyalty, and sacrifice in our noble profession of arms.”
The push for charter change, reportedly backed by House Speaker and presidential cousin Martin Romualdez, faces allegations of bribery. All 24 Senators, in a strongly-worded manifesto released on January 23, rejected the House of Representative’s bid over concerns that it is “an obvious prelude to further amendments, revisions, or even an overhaul of our entire Constitution.”
Duterte said efforts are also backed by First Lady Liza Marcos Araneta, adding that a Parliamentary set-up could allow presidential son and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Sandro Marcos to rise through the ranks.
On Sunday, the Marcos and Duterte factions staged show-of-force events drawing thousands in Manila and Davao City, the Duterte’s turf. The Marcos administration launched the “Bagong Pilipinas (new Philippines)” movement which, according to the Philippine Information Agency, aimed to “ignite hope and inspire participation in building a better Philippines through collective action.”
The multi-sectoral prayer rally in Davao City entitled “One Nation, One Opposition,” meanwhile, sought to protest ongoing efforts to change the Philippine Constitution.
Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte on Sunday told Marcos to resign if he does not have love and aspirations for the Philippines. He also reminded the President that it was the elder Duterte who “allowed their father to be buried.” – With reports from Herbie Gomez/Rappler.com