The political feud between former president Rodrigo Duterte and current president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has escalated to a new level, as Duterte launched a series of verbal attacks against Marcos, calling him a “drug addict” and threatening him with ouster.
The Source of the Conflict
The main source of the conflict between Duterte and Marcos is the issue of charter change, or the proposed amendment of the 1987 Constitution. Duterte, who is running for senator under the opposition coalition, has opposed the moves to push for charter change through the people’s initiative, which he claims is a fraudulent and wasteful scheme orchestrated by Marcos’ allies in the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez.
Duterte accused Romualdez of bribing Filipinos to sign petitions for charter change, and urged the military and the police to arrest the lawmakers involved. He also alleged that Marcos’ wife, First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, and Romualdez are behind the plan to shift to a parliamentary form of government, where Romualdez would become the prime minister and Marcos would remain as the president.
The Reactions of Marcos and His Camp
Marcos, who held his own rally in Manila on the same day, did not directly respond to Duterte’s tirades, but instead focused on his platform of building a “new Philippines” that would be more prosperous, peaceful, and united. He also defended his administration’s achievements in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the economy, and strengthening the country’s sovereignty.
However, some of Marcos’ allies and supporters have hit back at Duterte, calling him a “traitor”, a “liar”, and a “coward”. They also denied the allegations of fraud and bribery in the people’s initiative, and insisted that charter change is necessary to address the country’s problems and to fulfill the people’s aspirations.
The Implications of the Rift
The rift between Duterte and Marcos has significant implications for the country’s political landscape, as it exposes the cracks within the ruling coalition and the opposition. It also raises questions about the stability and legitimacy of Marcos’ presidency, as well as the role and loyalty of the military and the police. Moreover, it creates uncertainty and confusion among the public, who are divided over the issue of charter change and the personalities involved.
The rift between Duterte and Marcos is not likely to be resolved soon, as both sides have shown no signs of backing down or compromising. The conflict is expected to intensify as the country approaches the midterm elections in May 2024, where the fate of charter change and the balance of power in Congress will be decided.