Marcos vs. Duterte

Posted by watchmen
May 6, 2024


By Ade S. Fajardo

Vice President Sara Duterte’s “no comment” on the simmering West Philippine Sea issue drew flak from certain groups, with Akbayan declaring that they are “the most traitorous two words uttered by the second highest leader of the land.”

President Bongbong Marcos has defended her silence because it is “not the role of the Vice President, or the secretary of education to talk about China.”

He added that “the vice president is part of the government. Unlike before, the vice president is now part of the administration, not only the government’s agenda in this administration.”


The President made this defense even if, noticeably for the first time since he held office, he left the reins of power to three people, not just the Vice President, when he departed the country last week to participate in the first trilateral meeting between the Philippines, the United States and Japan.

He designated Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado Estrella III, Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, and the Vice President, to man the fort in his absence.

There is no published explanation to Marcos’ decision, but former Congressman Barry Gutierrez said that PBBM’s appointment of three caretakers is a clear message that “VP Sara does not enjoy the same level of trust she once did within the administration.”


The relationship between the Marcos and Duterte families has obviously gone to the fishes.

Everyone in the family, except the VP, has taken turns taking potshots at the President, a staccato of expletives and other un-printables that hew closely to the Duterte brand of politics.

No amount of courteous indifference can possibly sustain this heavy weight of unease between the President and his Vice President.


While interpreted as a defense, the President’s declarations are somehow loaded with undeclared meaning.

The VP, he said, is part of the administration, “unlike before.” We all know this can end in an instant, like when he decides to appoint a new secretary of Education.

Rodrigo Duterte broke off with Vice President Leni Robredo as housing czar in December 2016 with a simple text message from then Secretary to the Cabinet Leoncio Evasco Jr., directing the former VP “to desist from attending all cabinet meetings…”

Will a similar method be employed with October fast approaching and political lines getting drawn with the filing of certificates of candidacy from senator down the line?


In the context of the President’s declaration, the VP is forced by her silence to toe the administration line of fiery resistance to China’s incursions in the WPS.

Marcos said that if the VP had any serious concerns on his handling of the WPS issue she would have come to him directly because she is a part of his administration.

In the meantime, Congress is poised to investigate China’s admission that it had entered into a “gentlemen’s agreement” with the Duterte administration with respect to the Ayungin Shoal where the BRP Sierra Madre is currently beached.

The former President getting backed into a corner. People are eager to see whether his daughter will be able to sustain her dignified silence while maintaining her position in the cabinet./WDJ

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