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Sunday, March 3, 2024

The Marcos-Duterte alliance

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“Undoubtedly, the Marcos-Duterte alliance is certainly worth keeping and defending by both sides”

The political gossip suggesting a rift between ex-President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, current Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, on the one hand, and the camp of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Martin Romualdez, the Speaker of the House of Representatives of Congress on the other hand, is what it is — gossip.

The gossip began when the House turned down Sara Duterte’s request for P650-million in confidential and intelligence funds in the 2024 annual budget of the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education.

Sara’s budget request was turned down by the House, not because of a rift between her and Romualdez, but because of the strong opposition her request had stirred.

First, Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo revealed that last year the OVP under Sara Duterte spent P125-million pesos in just 11 days — more than P11-million of taxpayers’ money daily.

That revelation certainly invited questions from the members of the House, as seen in the ensuing interpellation by three partylist representatives known for their staunch anti-Duterte and anti-Marcos stance: France Castro (ACT Teachers), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) and Raoul Manuel (Kabataan).

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Media outfits known for their strong anti-Duterte bias were quick to fan the political fire started by the interpellations.

One online news source operated by a corporation which lost its legislative franchise to operate its broadcast network during the administration of President Duterte had a heyday blasting at Sara Duterte. For that online news source, it was payback time.

China’s illegal expansionist activities in the West Philippine Sea which, at the time of the House budget deliberations, had reached provocative levels, prompted the House to channel the money sought by Sara to the military establishment to address the need to defend Philippine maritime territory from alien encroachment.

As expected, anti-Duterte and anti-Marcos groups quickly insinuated the House was against Sara Duterte all along. Considering that Quimbo is with the opposition Liberal Party, her revelation was designed to put Sara in bad light.

Sure, Speaker Romualdez delivered a speech asserting the independence of the House, but it was to emphasize that legislation is all about national priorities, and is not a campaign to discredit anybody.

More importantly, Romualdez’ speech effectively debunked the false scenario peddled by the political opposition that the House had embarked on a campaign to discredit Sara Duterte by turning down her budget request.

When an angry ex-President Duterte appeared on cable television to get back at the House, anti-Duterte elements ganged up on him. They conveniently forgot that Duterte’s remarks were those of a father protecting his daughter from political intrigue.

Castro, who remains angry at the Duterte administration for linking her to the local communists, filed a legally groundless criminal case for grave threats against the ex-president before the prosecution office of Quezon City.

Ex-Senator Leila de Lima, recently out on bail pending her anti-narcotics criminal case, said she will cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its efforts to put ex-President Duterte in prison for the deaths allegedly arising from the anti-drug war pursued during his administration.

In contrast, incumbent Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reiterated his public announcement that any official of the ICC who insists on investigating the ex-President will be deported immediately.

Remulla explained the Philippines has withdrawn from the Rome Statute, the multilateral treaty creating the ICC.

Senator Imee Marcos was quick to defend ex-President Duterte from his critics.

Imee recalled when he was the president, Duterte defended her father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., from detractors. Duterte even allowed the Marcos patriarch to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite the noisy protests of the communists and their allies in the Liberal Party.

When rumors of a possible impeachment of Vice President Sara Duterte made news, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. himself declared he is vehemently against the same.

Romualdez has also declared there is no rift between the two families.

He added any possible misunderstanding between both camps, created by the political opposition, can be easily resolved.

Undoubtedly, the Marcos-Duterte alliance is certainly worth keeping and defending by both sides.

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