Rodrigo Duterte

[Newspoint] The junking of Rodrigo Duterte

Vergel O. Santos

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[Newspoint] The junking of Rodrigo Duterte

Raffy de Guzman

Not two years into Junior’s term, whatever deal the Dutertes may have made with the Marcoses appears in danger of falling through – in danger enough to draw Duterte out of the quiet of his retirement and come at Ferdinand Jr.’s first cousin Martin Romualdez, the Speaker

It may have seemed unforeseeable that the alliance between the Marcoses and the Dutertes would ever come to grief, but that’s exactly what seems to be happening – this early.

Only seven years ago, preceded by his reputation as the strongman mayor of the southern city of Davao, Rodrigo Duterte swept into the presidency and, upon taking office, professed his idolatry of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and proceeded to drag the nation down the path to authoritarianism. By the end of his six-year term, he had made arrangements aimed no doubt at ensuring his protection in retirement – one case alone has prosecutors from the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, going after him for summary killings in his war on drugs.

In an attempt apparently to put in place a surrogate government to succeed his, Duterte had doubled the pay of the soldiers and police; recycled newly retired generals into powerful positions in the civilian bureaucracy; coopted both houses of Congress, much of the judiciary, and a number of other oversight institutions; given a strong push to the rehabilitation of Marcos by allowing whatever had remained of his 27-year-old remains to be buried in the national cemetery for heroes; prepared the way for Marcos’s son Ferdinand Jr. to succeed to the presidency and positioned his own daughter Sara Duterte next in line. But, not two years into Junior’s term, whatever deal the Dutertes may have made with the Marcoses appears in danger of falling through – in danger enough to draw Duterte out of the quiet of his retirement and come at Ferdinand Jr.’s first cousin Martin Romualdez, the Speaker.

The immediate provocation was a House decision denying Sara the P650-million confidential fund she had been asking for as vice president and education secretary. Coming as it did after the opposite signal had been given, the decision has caused her father to suspect a deeper betrayal than one involving money. He senses that his daughter is being pushed out of the line of succession for Romualdez. If that’s the case, he says, then Romualdez better be prepared to be exposed for his own secret spending.

If Duterte sounds rather atypically tentative with his warning, it’s possibly because he has somehow realized he has lost considerable leverage since he left the presidency and may now be forced to compromise or look for new allies. More like himself with minor targets, he has threatened with death the minority representative who led the most vocal opposition to Sara’s bid for an unprecedented secret fund of her own. But if his targets in general felt intimidated during his reign, no longer does France Castro, the party-list representative of schoolteachers. She and her colleagues are quick to take him on, calling him “deplorable” and a “fascist.” But the telltale sign of his depreciation into a non-factor is that the House majority, in which his own party belongs, is rallying around his target and telling him off.

Apparently, as patriarch of a mere provincial and comparatively new dynasty, Duterte was not prepared for the vagaries of national politics, in which loyalties outside the family and its circle of time-tested cronies shift pragmatically. To the Marcos-Romualdez combine, the Dutertes are simply no match. And, unlike her father, who managed to capture the imagination of the desperately poor with his quick-fix rhetoric and bad-boy image, Sara is proving to be no easy sell.

Haughty and spoiled and profligate, she definitely does not lack for the most basic of reasons to be denied money to spend as she likes. And if, indeed, Romualdez has his sights on the next presidency, this does seem a good time for him to start stocking up against her by helping the public furor over her covetous desires, then frustrating her and taking credit for the prudence.

And for the patriotism, too, since the money she covets is being diverted to the security agencies, for their surveillance and intelligence work in the West Philippine Sea. This is in response to another public outrage, at Sara’s father in this case, over the Chinese encroachment upon those strategic and resource-rich waters of ours. He allowed it as he turned the nation away from the United States and toward China. Now his successor is not only going back to the old arrangement, but going so far as to allow US military stations inside Philippine bases and joint patrols with the Americans in our western sea, which happens to be an international shipping lane.

On his own, Duterte is in for deeper trouble. A move is snowballing to make him answer in court, here or in The Hague, for what excesses his regime may have committed. Going along with it gives President Marcos a decided political advantage. Sure enough, he’s posing no objection. Evidently more responsive lately to public sentiments, he wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to consolidate power, this time without the Dutertes.

The problem is, once able to deal with Duterte to popular satisfaction, Marcos could look so good his own father’s 14-year reign of torture, murder, and plunder, not to mention the criminal fruits he himself has reaped from it, might be forgotten and ignored altogether. If that happens, there will have been no more consistent fools than us, and we should be ready to swallow Matin Romualdez after Marcos and Marcos’ son Sandro after his Uncle Martin. – Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    Thanks to Vergel Santos for another amusing and enlightening political analysis entitled, “The Junking of Rodrigo Duterte.” Firstly, I agree: “If, indeed, Romualdez has his sights on the next presidency, this does seem a good time for him to start stocking up against her ….” I believe the Speaker has that ambition and that he is already “stocking up” against VP Sara (SWOH). Secondly, Digong is really “in for deeper trouble” in his very own making. President Marcos Jr. should NOT lose this opportunity of surrendering his two former allies to the ICC to clear the way for the Marcos-Romualdez political clan to the Presidency in 2028. If he loses this opportunity, then he might regret it in the future. Thirdly, it is possible that after dealing with Duterte, “his own father’s 14-year reign … might be forgotten and ignored altogether.” This adds ANOTHER motive for him to disable (if not eliminate) the Duterte clan as a competitor against the Marcos-Romualdez clan in the 2028 Presidential Election. Fourth and lastly, after all of these, I agree that “we should be ready to swallow Martin Romualdez after Marcos and Marcos’ son Sandro after his Uncle Martin.” And if I may add: Imee Marcos after Martin and before Sandro.

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