Espinoza: Still in disharmony?

Espinoza: Still in disharmony?

The election of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) and Vice President Sara Duterte was the first tandem coming from the same coalesced political party to win the national polls. Many expected a harmonious relation in the executive unlike in the Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte administration where then-Vice President Leni Robredo did not belong to the party in power.

But with the ongoing spat, so to speak, between the Dutertes and First Lady Liza Marcos and despite the efforts of President BBM to cool down the issue, the vice president, who is a member of the Marcos cabinet as secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), is now like a square peg in a hole, in a manner of speaking.

In fact, there have been calls for VP Sara Dutere to resign from the Cabinet after she kept mum on China’s encroachment on the West Philippine Sea. President BBM, however, said there is no basis to remove the vice president from his Cabinet. Meaning, VP Sara stays as DepEd secretary come what may.

In an interview, First Lady Liza expressed her dismay at the Dutertes spewing bad words against her husband, particularly past President Digong who called BBM “bangag,” which is the local term for high on drugs. The President said he understood the First Lady’s sentiment being a wife and apolitical.

The present situation between the Marcoses and the Dutertes could be a prelude to the presidential polls in May 2028. Vice President Duterte is the next probable bet for president. It may be recalled that Digong wanted Sara to run for president in the last polls.

There have been wild talks that House Speaker Martin Romualdez, BBM’s cousin, is honing up for the presidential race in 2028. There are suspicions that the issues thrown at the vice president came from their camp, which, of course, they denied.

Wikipedia and refreshed my memory that the late President Fidel Ramos, who was elected in 1992, and his then-Vice President Joseph Estrada did not belong to the same political party. The same was true when Estrada won the presidential race with Gloria Arroyo as his vice president.

Even if Ramos and Estrada did not belong to the same political party, they did well together. In fact, Ramos appointed Estrada as the anti-crime czar, and the latter succeeded in his task with the help of a task force.

When Estrada was deposed during the 2001 “People Power” after he was elected in 1998, Arroyo became president to finish his last three years in office. Sen. Teofisto Guingona as Senate president took oath as the vice president. Arroyo and Guingona didn’t belong to the same party.

After winning the presidential race in 2004 despite an earlier speech in Baguio City that she would not seek the country’s highest elective office, Arroyo’s vice president was Noli de Castro, a TV host and a newscaster. He ran as an independent. It may be recalled that the pair had a smooth working relationship.

In the 2010 polls, the late Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was elected and his vice president was Jejomar Binay, who won over Mar Roxas, the running mate of Aquino. I didn’t hear of any trouble between Aquino and Binay.

When Digong was elected president in 2016, his vice president was Robredo, who was not his party mate. Even if Robredo was not given a Cabinet position she still worked in accordance with the mandate of her office.

The current political state between BBM and VP Sara only shows that being in the same political party does not guarantee a smooth and unruffled administration, especially when personal interests and ambitions are over and above public service.


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