From being untouchable, former President Rodrigo Duterte is under intense scrutiny by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and is now facing at least one criminal charge after he threatened to kill Rep. France Castro on live TV.
The Dutertes are now on the losing end more than ever before, after the Romualdez-led House of Representatives headed the charge in rejecting Vice President Sara Duterte’s bid for confidential funds. This is just the first of many that exposed the fractures of the UniTeam alliance.
While the Duterte scion had confidence in his political partner, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to protect his father from the ICC, it wasn’t long until the president stated his consideration in cooperating with the ICC. For the victims of the war on drugs, the development was a glimmer of hope to finally bring the architects of the drug war to justice.
The Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), Duterte's propaganda machine, was also investigated by the House which resulted in a 30-day suspension by the National Telecommunication Commission. SMNI was notorious for red-tagging and spewing fabricated information against those critical of the government.
The abrupt change of attitude of Marcos drew questions regarding his loyalty to the unholy alliance that propelled him to the presidency. From a once-formidable alliance, they are now at risk of collapse as each party shifts their interest from their alliance to their familial interests.
Marcos took advantage of his cousin, House Speaker Rep. Martin Romualdez, to dampen the influence of the Dutertes among lawmakers. Romualdez orchestrated both the vice president’s confidential fund removal and SMNI fiascos, even going as far as imprisoning two red-taggers, Jeffrey Celiz and Lorraine Badoy.
Though the alliance is still intact for now, Marcos’s inaction to help his ally could only be seen as an indirect attack on the Dutertes and their political ambitions.
For instance, Marcos was silent on the suspension of SMNI and the rejection of the vice president’s confidential funds. Marcos himself also floated the idea of “studying” the country’s return to the ICC. On these occasions, the president could have played politics and influenced any actions against the Dutertes. But his silence rang loud—likely loud enough for his vice president to hear.
While both families have their respective geographical strongholds, they have one mission in common—to keep their grip on power. However, the pursuit of power would mean the erosion of the country’s political system as we know it, as both families use their positions and formal institutions to keep their influence.
As the 2025 midterm elections are approaching, we could expect Marcos and Duterte to further consolidate their political allies to cultivate a favorable electoral landscape by next year. However, the real litmus test of the alliance would be post-midterm elections. Time and again, we’ve seen fragile political alliances shatter as one party begins a thirst for more power. Perhaps, UniTeam isn’t exempt from this.
The promise of unity seems to be in peril, at least for the tandem. The public who voted for UniTeam was promised reconciliation and healing, but the classic tale of realpolitik still prevailed, and power strategies ruled supreme.
As long as the isolated powers that be remain unchecked, the craving for self-interests in government will remain. It is up to us—where the real political power lies—to continue exposing fissures in political alliances like UniTeam whose purpose is to remain entrenched in power. ●
Feb 10, 2024
Wala akong hangad na angkinin ang oras mo. Bakit ko naman gagawin iyon, kung sa mga kwento mo tungkol sa iyong pagkilos ay nakikita kitang masaya, nabubuhayan ng loob na magpatuloy at magpakahusay.
Feb 10, 2024
Bago maiahon ni Jimenez sa nais na katanyagan ang UP, esensyal na masigurong nakalapat muna ang kanyang pamumuno sa pagtugon sa kagyat na kahingian ng mga sektor ng pamantasan.