Is it really or not really a jab at Marcos as Inquirer columnist Manuel L Quezon III (MLQ3) suggests in his piece today? I think not or maybe yes. MLQ3’s extreme realm of speculation is former President Rodrigo Duterte (PRRD) went to China also to ask President Xi Jinping for political asylum…
There are two other possibilities. One is that as the Philippines snaps back to its old alliances (and, in fact, deepens them), the usefulness of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ended and Beijing has to signal that its interests (and backing) are fully enjoyed by Duterte now. The other possibility is that, with neck braces now being out of fashion, the former president went under cover of being a medical tourist but what he’s actually after is a promise of asylum.
Harebrained is how I would describe that. Hand Duterte over to International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction and the government will see people going out onto the streets. If that ever happens, Duterte will hole up in Mindanao and not in China. It’s likely he’ll try to bring down the government as well so that makes it far-fetched.
What this meeting may signify is Duterte making a play for 2025. He still has PDP-Laban as his political flag of convenience. There are Bong Go, Bato delay Rosa, Francis Tolentino and “Idol” in the Senate. There is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) still with her political influence. But the oligarchs who used to back GMA are definitely not going to choose her over President Bongbong Marcos (BBM) given how they’re having it so good “working” closely with the President. They never actually had it so good until now.
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Definitely the campaign funds will flow into the administration slate come 2025 but the pertinent question is the composition of that slate and who will be the remaining members of the UniTeam coalition. Vice President Sara Duterte still can’t make a public break from Marcos. She can only go after House Speaker Martin “Tambaloslos” Romualdez but BBM won’t tolerate any open conflict between the two. Such is the predicament Sara and GMA find themselves in.
PRRD is more flexible. He has praised Marcos but is openly against the additional Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) bases without directly sniping at Apo Lakay Jr. But here’s the rub, Vicente Duterte died one year after his failed bid for Congressman after Landring Almendras and the late former President Ferdinand “Apo Lakay Sr” E. Marcos. dumped him. Even if Digong didn’t have a good relationship with his father, blood will always be thicker than water. It’s his last hurrah. If he feels compelled to get back at Marcos for what is now the second slight over the Sara and Martin tiff then he will make his move but not to the point of destablizing the Marcos administration.
Digong is the consummate political poker player. He doesn’t let anyone see his cards. I’m sure that keen political pundits have seen through Marcos’ weakness. Even Manang Senator Imee Marcos realizes it which is why she’s distancing herself from her ading politically. She’s still part of the Duterte-GMA alliance.
There is no love lost between her and her cousin. Imee also has an eye for the Presidency. The best way for Martin to become Marcos’ successor is for him to become Prime Minister because he won’t win in a national race against either Sara or Imee. Digong’s ace card now is running for Senator in 2025. That would change the power structure in the Senate and in that position, he can extract concessions from Marcos. Abangan.
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