SO WHAT if the Duterte family is running for the Senate?

The Philippines’ brain-dead chattering classes are at it again. The “debate” this time is around a recent statement made by Vice President Sara Duterte that her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte and her two brothers, Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte and House Representative 1st District of Davao City Paolo Duterte, are planning to run for senators in the 2025 mid-term elections. Other related chatter involves the possibility she may resign as VP (she denies it) among other things following her resignation as Education Secretary.

So what?

Good question. Glaringly absent from the “debate” is what the presumptive Duterte legislators have up their sleeves in the way of some sort of legislative agenda. For both supporters and detractors alike, the intent seems evident — to ensure the dynasty remains in the game. The game whether one is a Marcos, Aquino, or Duterte is to stay out of jail as most Filipino politicians are guilty one way or another of one crime or another. In the Philippines, after all, behind great fortunes and great power lies at least one great crime. The Dutertes, despite having backed current President Bongbong Marcos’s bid for the presidency in the lead up to the 2022 elections, find themselves holding the short end of the stick today. The embattled dynasty is reeling from administrative pressure on all fronts — probes into their “war on drugs”, the newly-reencarnated Yellowtard “martyr” Leila De Lima, and the looming extradition of the family spiritual guru Apollo Quiboloy on charges of sexual misconduct to the United States among other things.

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Indeed, much of the power infrastructure of the Duterte clan — Quiboloy’s media empire Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), the relationship Communist China cosied into with Malacanang during the Duterte Administration, etc. — had been systematically pulled from under their feet since Marcos came to power. This is bolstered by the “ironclad” military alliance the Philippines now “enjoys” with her former colonial master engineered by Marcos. Political vendetta often favours those who control the administrative and bureaucratic tools and, today, the Marcoses and their accidental allies, the Yellowtards and commies, have their turn behind the sniper scope.

What all this chatter and jostling for position ultimately means to ordinary Filipinos is debatable. Time and again one or the other personality or sets of personalities from one or the other partisan camp warming seats in the Executive and Legislative branches of the Philippine Government had mattered little to Filipinos’ day-to-day lives. Public transport still sucks, cost of living remains crushing, intellectual development remains stunted, and overall ability to compete globally is declining if not already non-existent. The slide of the Philippines to irrelevance in southeast Asia encompasses several presidencies. So, really, one dynasty or the other seems to factor very little as far as Filipinos’ mid- to long-term fortunes are concerned.

All that can be observed and gleaned from what is currently being discussed and, specifically, this recent circus constitutes no more than an amusing distraction for Filipinos and something that props up the chattering classes’ sense of purpose. Until a legislative agenda underlies the Dutertes’ candidacies, the only real call to action for the thinking classes for now is to bring out the popcorn, sit back, and enjoy the show.

2 Replies to “SO WHAT if the Duterte family is running for the Senate?”

  1. The writing on the wall is that the Duterte vs Marcos family feud is coinciding with the impending China vs US proxy war on Philippine soil. This country will fare much worse than Ukraine if war goes hot, because the two strongest political dynasties in the country right now will be willing to serve as their respective proxies for two global powers.

    There’s a possibility that China might even start a direct invasion if next year’s election doesn’t go in favor of the Dutertes.

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