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    Home / College Guide / Marcos vs Duterte family feud drags both political dynasties’, and the Philippin
     Posted on Wednesday, April 17 @ 00:00:09 PDT

    Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr’s tumultuous relationship with his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte is unlikely to improve, analysts say – and it could even worsen, given the firebrand ex-leader’s increasingly virulent attacks on his replacement. That the two men would clash was inevitable, according to Jean Encinas-Franco, a political analyst from the University of the Philippines Diliman, because the alliance their families made in 2022 was “to win the election at any cost – and that’s it”. When asked about his relationship with the Duterte family, Marcos Jnr admitted at a forum on Tuesday: “it’s complicated”. Speaking to the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, the president said: “The one I have the most contact with is [Vice-President Sara Duterte] – and how we were during the election, [and since then] it hasn’t really changed.” The Marcos and Duterte families became allies in 2022 when Sara, the daughter of ex-president Duterte, joined Marcos’ campaign in what proved to be a winning combination for both candidates. Since then, the bond between the two clans has become increasingly fractious – with plenty of invective being hurled at the Marcos family by the former president and his supporters.

    On Monday, congressman Pantaleon Alvarez, a key Duterte ally, called on the military to withdraw its support for Marcos and force him to resign over his increasingly confrontational stance against Beijing regarding their disputes in the West Philippine Sea – Manila’s term for the section of the South China Sea that outlines its maritime territory and includes its exclusive economic zone. “Our constitution says the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] shall protect the people and the state, not the president. If we allow the war to explode in the West Philippine Sea, there will be countless dead bodies and unimaginable destruction. Before that happens …. I call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to please withdraw your support to the chief executive …. [so he’ll step down],” Alvarez said at a prayer rally in Tagum City in the Mindanao province of Davao del Norte on Sunday. The Philippine military said on Tuesday that it plans to ask Alvarez to explain his comments. The Department of Defence said it supports Marcos Jnr’s constitutional powers, adding calls for withdrawals of support might result in a “criminal investigation”. Former congressman Glenn Chong, another staunch Duterte supporter, claimed on Monday at a separate rally that the 2022 election was rigged in Marcos Jnr’s favour.

    Chong said in March that he wanted to “slap” the president’s wife, Louise “Liza” Araneta-Marcos, claiming that all political appointments were being controlled by the Philippine’s first lady. On social media, Duterte’s supporters regularly assail Marcos Jnr as a weak leader. They also echo past accusations made by the former president that his successor was a cocaine user. During a press conference on Thursday, Duterte called Marcos Jnr a “crybaby” for his repeated criticisms of his predecessor’s policy on the West Philippine Sea, mocking the current president using obscenities and questioning whether he had finished college. In the face of such attacks, Marcos Jnr told the foreign correspondents’ forum he would he would not retaliate by handing Duterte over to the International Criminal Court, which is currently investigating the former president for alleged crimes against humanity. Marcos Jnr said the court has no jurisdiction in the Philippines. Philippines will not hand Duterte to ICC over drug war: President Marcos Jnr Human rights organisations say Duterte’s brutal war on drugs led to the indiscriminate murder of tens of thousands of Filipinos, including children.

    During his visit to Washington last week, Marcos Jnr addressed the Philippine media’s questions about Duterte’s insults, saying: “I don’t pay any attention to that. That means absolutely nothing to me … the former president is a highly experienced lawyer, he should know that ad hominem attacks like that really have no place.” His comments came as his working relationship with Vice-President Sara Duterte appears to have grown increasingly tense in recent years. After the election in 2022, Sara indicated that she wanted to be defence secretary but was given the education portfolio instead. When she requested 650 million Philippine pesos (US$11.5 million) in “confidential funds” last year for her office’s discretionary use, she faced intense criticism and withdrew her request. It was later revealed that she had received 125 million pesos in confidential funds in 2022, spending the entire amount in 11 days. She was again pilloried, but Marcos Jnr did not defend her. The current Philippine president has also seemingly snubbed his No 2 at several recent public events, and has not intervened to help pastor Apollo Quiboloy – a spiritual adviser and ally of the ex-president – who is being investigated by American and Philippine law enforcers for alleged sex trafficking.

    Despite his non-confrontational approach, Marcos Jnr has occasionally hit back. Early this year, after Duterte repeated his claim at a rally that the president was a drug addict, Marcos Jnr responded by speculating whether his foul-mouthed predecessor was ranting under the influence of fentanyl. Marcos Jnr has also criticised Duterte over a recent revelation that the previous administration reached an unwritten agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to maintain the status quo in the South China Sea. He said he was “horrified” over the agreement and questioned why it was kept secret from him and others. “They call it a gentleman’s agreement, I call it a secret agreement”, he told reporters in Washington. In the foreign correspondents’ forum on Tuesday, Marcos Jnr said in comments directed at Duterte: “We still have to find out what this is all about. I tried to ask officials of the former administration [but] I haven’t got a straight answer … What is contained in that agreement and what did we agree to? Why do you keep it secret?” He had not been able to get answers about the agreement because of “many excuses”, the Philippine president said. People hungry for absolute power never really work well together.

    One side has to win Nuelle Duterte, ex-president Rodrigo Duterte’s niece Rumours of the agreement prompted Duterte to hold a press conference to discuss the matter, with his admission of its existence sparking accusations of treason. Franco, the political analyst, said she could not foresee any type of reconciliation between Marcos Jnr, Duterte and their families. “I think there is already so much distrust, so it is difficult to patch things up,” she said. Nuelle Duterte, the former president’s niece who has long been a critic of her uncle’s administration, told This Week in Asia that even during the 2022 campaign, she “didn’t think this unity would last, mostly because people hungry for absolute power never really work well together. One side has to win.” The New Zealand-based psychiatrist said the two families had to enter the alliance in 2022 because they would have lost the election otherwise. “It was a strategic alliance, nothing more. Will it last? Likely no, because neither party wants to be the subordinate of the other.”

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