Wenceslao: ‘Marriage of convenience’

Candid Thoughts

Former president Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte has long expressed his dislike for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., making the pairing of Marcos with Digong’s daughter Sara in the last elections a “marriage of convenience.” While Sara seems bent on following in the footsteps of her father, succeeding him as Davao city mayor when he became president, she had often exhibited disdain for her father’s “trapo” or traditional politician’s ways. Many thought she would run for president in the last elections. She ran for vice president instead and paired with Marcos despite her father’s attacks on Marcos’s character. The scheme succeeded, though, and the pair won.

After years of silence, Duterte is once again hitting Marcos, openly expressing opposition to the latter’s plan to tamper with the Constitution. What has been left unsaid, however, is that Duterte sees in the plan an attempt by Bongbong to extend his hold on the presidency and thus shut down Sara’s ascension to power. What made matters worse is that Bongbong’s wife Liza has openly admitted her dislike for Sara.

I am not a supporter of either Bongbong or Sara, but I do like the current administration’s effort to move closer to the US instead of to China considering the conflict in the West Philippine Sea. Sara is apparently following the path her father laid down in the past, which was to forge ties with China, which was rumored to have supported Digong’s candidacy for president. This explains why Sara has been silent on the effort of China to gain dominance in the West Philippine Sea. She seems to be courting China’s support if ever she decides to run for president.

The split between Marcos and Duterte is expected to worsen as 2028 nears. For now, Sara is serving as education secretary in the Marcos cabinet, but if the rift worsens, she could be replaced and end up like Leni Robredo in the past: a powerless vice president. By then, the “marriage of convenience” would end in a bitter political divorce.

By the way, Mindanaoans are once more taking the lead on the constitutional amendments issue. They are raising again the threat to split from the republic if Marcos goes ahead with his constitutional amendment plan. That threat is often raised by Mindanao leaders who want to become relevant in an election. Cebu leaders are silent on the matter, which shows where their loyalty resides.

This is the reason why the next presidential election is interesting. Aside from the political interests of leaders like Marcos and Duterte, there is also the imperial interest of China and the US. I do believe that both powers will try to influence the results of the elections. As shown by Digong in the past, the presidency is crucial in establishing dominance in the West Philippine Sea.

But I prefer Bongbong’s current initiatives on the issue. We do need the support of the other global powers to counter China’s designs in the West Philippine Sea. Patriotism should therefore be an issue in 2028.


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