The people’s initiative (PI) that seeks to amend some provisions of the Philippine Constitution and gathered signatures of the voters from the different congressional districts in the country has led to the division of what was once dubbed as the UniTeam of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos (BBM) Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte. Worse, it provoked a word war between a former President and the sitting President.
During the prayer rally in Davao City on Sunday evening, Jan. 28, 2024, that coincided with the President BBM’s “Bagong Pilipinas” rally at the Quirino Grandstand, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte (PRRD) condemned as scandalous the PI signature campaign of the administration to amend the Charter in exchange for money.
In that rally, Duterte warned BBM that a Charter change through PI will cause chaos and that BBM might suffer the same fate as his father, the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. The late Marcos was deposed in a bloodless revolt in 1986, better known as the People Power Revolution.
Duterte also bluntly called BBM a “drug addict” and always “bangag,” a term for a person high on drugs.
But the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency issued a statement flatly denying the claim of Duterte that BBM was in the list of drug personalities.
Here is part of the speech of Duterte that a SunStar news item cited: “Ang parliament, ang vision niyan, karamihan galing kay (First Lady) Liza Marcos, pati kay (House Speaker Martin) Romualdez. Si Bongbong, bangag iyan. That’s why sinasabi ko na sa inyo ngayon, si Bongbong Marcos bangag noon, ngayong presidente na, bangag ang ating presidente. Kayong mga military, alam ninyo ‘yan. Lalo na ‘yung nasa Malacañang. Alam ninyo. The Armed Forces of the Philippines, alam ninyo. May drug addict tayo na presidente, p****g inang iyan.”
President BBM, responding to Duterte’s allegations, said in an interview: “I think it’s the fentanyl. Fentanyl is the strongest pain killer that you can buy. It is highly addictive and it has a very serious side effects and PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) has been taking the drug for a very long time now.”
With the exchange of diatribes, it would be foolhardy to think that the political relationship between the two dynasties, Marcos and Duterte, is still unbroken or has not gone sour despite the recent statement of BBM that UniTeam is still vibrant because it is composed of different political parties.
PRRD’s son, Davao City Mayor Baste Duterte’s call for BBM to resign was allegedly an emotional outburst of out fear that his father would be imprisoned on the alleged crime against humanity in relation to the drug war that PRRD waged during his term. It has been reported that the International Criminal Court has gathered enough evidence against PRRD.
But the skirmish of unpleasant words between the past President and sitting President does not bode well for our country’s economy. Those in the know about economy view the current political climate a low bar that could drive away potential investors and could only put to naught the administration’s red-carpet efforts in luring foreign investors.
While the sudden shoot up of the price of fuel on Tuesday had no relation to the current political squabble over the PI, whose intention is supposedly to fast-track the amendments on the economic provisions of the Constitution to attract foreign investors, the word war could have dire effects on what this administration aims to achieve.
The lower house and upper house of Congress cannot agree on how to go about with the amendment on the economic provisions of our fundamental law. Perhaps, each one has its own hidden agenda.