President Bongbong Marcos (above), Digong Duterte and Baste Duterte (below, from left)
/ Photos from Presidential Communications Office, Ramcez Villegas of sunstar davao and Baste Duterte Facebook page
President Bongbong Marcos (above), Digong Duterte and Baste Duterte (below, from left) / Photos from Presidential Communications Office, Ramcez Villegas of sunstar davao and Baste Duterte Facebook page

Briones: The unraveling of a political union

I ended up shaking my head after having seen what transpired during the “prayer” rally held in Davao City last Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024.

However, I still have to decide whether it was out of utter disbelief or just plain incredulity.

To those who didn’t see what happened, well, you had a former President accuse the current President of being a drug addict.

Yup, according to Rodrigo Duterte, while he was still mayor of Davao City, the name of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. showed up on the list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, which, by the way, the agency immediately denied.

But that wasn’t the only bombshell.

Duterte also called the current chief executive “a son of a b***h,” not in English, of course, but I don’t like repeating what he said because it’s not something you would use on an incumbent head of state.

Not only is it crass but it is also highly disrespectful. I don’t care if Duterte is older than Marcos Jr. Although I shouldn’t be surprised, having lived through six years of his brand of leadership and having heard him say far worse things.

But what I couldn’t believe was when the Davao audience applauded when their beloved Digong issued unveiled threats against the country’s top official and his family.

He said, without mincing any words, that Marcos Jr. might follow in his father’s footsteps if the “people’s initiative” to change the 1987 Constitution is not reined in.

He also called on members of the military and the police to zealously guard democracy by preventing attempts to get rid of the Senate altogether.

The word “coup” immediately came to mind.

It was during the rally that I only learned that one of the objectives of the “people’s initiative” is to scrap the Senate.

You see the movement wasn’t such a big deal here in Cebu before I left for Davao last Thursday night, Jan. 25.

I first encountered it while handling SunStar Cebu’s Opinion section a few weeks back. But I thought nothing of it, especially since the whole Cebu was so focused on the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog Festival.

But here, it would seem everybody, and by “everybody” I mean the Duterte diehards and stalwarts, couldn’t think of anything else but that.

So, here’s my take on the whole issue.

There’s bound to be serious repercussions after the blatant attack against the Marcos Jr. presidency.

I don’t know if the people of Davao have realized that Duterte is no longer the country’s big kahuna. And the same goes for his son, incumbent Davao City Mayor Baste Duterte, who called on Marcos Jr. to resign.

Have they forgotten that they no longer control the political narrative?

That’s why I shook my head when I watched father-and-son cross the Rubicon last Sunday. Because that’s what it was, wasn’t it? And the seemingly dismissive reaction from Malacañang painted a thousand words that the ordinary people of Davao City should take notice.

The braggadocio may have worked during his stint as President, but the elder Duterte is now a private citizen and has become a shadow of his former self.

Some people I know here in Davao wondered if the latest development was one of Duterte’s “ruses.” If it was, it wasn’t amusing. If it wasn’t, then they will have to prepare themselves for the setbacks that surely will come their way.

Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. attributed his predecessor’s tirade to the latter’s use of the opioid painkiller fentanyl. Back in 2016, Duterte admitted using the drug to relieve pain.

Now that’s telling.

He also tried to quiet the situation by saying, through Senate President Miguel Zubiri, that he would appeal to the “House of Representatives and other PI initiators” to stop their version of the people’s initiative.

But do you think the people close to him, especially those targeted by Duterte, would take the matter sitting down?

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