KARAPATAN on the Marcos-Duterte brawl and the people’s struggle for genuine change

January 29, 2024

The much-vaunted UniTeam of the Marcoses and Dutertes is crumbling, with both camps exchanging charges and insults in yesterday’s stand-off rallies at the Quirino Grandstand and in Davao City.

On the surface, the great divide between the two warring factions is charter change (cha-cha), with the Marcos Jr. administration pushing to amend the 1987 Constitution and the Duterte camp seemingly opposed to it. Never mind if Duterte himself attempted, during his time, to ride the cha-cha train, making his clique’s opposition reek of hypocrisy.

Rodrigo Duterte, who had admitted to abusing the painkiller fentanyl, accuses Marcos Jr. of being a crackhead. Duterte claimed that Marcos Jr.’s cocaine habit has landed him on a drug watchlist. On the other hand, Duterte’s son Paolo has been linked more than once to the illegal drug trade, including the reported smuggling of $125 million worth of shabu into the country through the Bureau of Customs in 2017.

Both Marcos Jr. and Duterte are accountable for grave human rights violations. Duterte is under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for thousands of drug-related killings during his term. He is likewise accountable for the extrajudicial killing of hundreds of political activists.

Marcos has not rescinded any of Duterte’s anti-drug and counter-insurgency policies, thus perpetuating the same cycle of fascist violence as his predecessor.

Both Marcos Jr. and Duterte have likewise been accused of engaging in, or facilitating, the flow of huge kickbacks for themselves and their closest cronies through big-ticket infrastructure projects endorsed by their respective regimes.

The vitriolic exchanges between the two cliques may rapidly turn violent, with both parties intent on gaining the upper hand. Duterte’s son Sebastian has called for Marcos Jr.’s resignation, and the elder Duterte has hurled veiled threats of Marcos Jr. suffering the same fate as his late dictator-father who was ousted in a popular uprising.

The Dutertes are desperate at Marcos Jr.’s blow hot-blow cold attitude regarding cooperation with the ICC investigation, which presents a looming threat not only to Rodrigo Duterte but to his daughter Sara and his cronies Ronaldo dela Rosa and Christopher “Bong” Go who have been named as persons of interest by the ICC prosecutors.

The brawl between the Marcos and Duterte cliques is a veritable case of the pot calling the kettle black. It is a hypocritical exchange between two thieving and murderous factions, both of which the Filipino people will be better off without.

The Filipino people have nothing to gain by favoring one execrable faction over the other. We will continue to press for justice for all victims of human rights violations and for the accountability of the Marcoses and Dutertes for the human rights catastrophe in the country. We will continue to fight for land and genuine agrarian reform for the farmers and farmworkers. We will continue to uphold the right to decent jobs, living wages, and social services for the poor. We will continue to uphold national sovereignty amid intervention of foreign powers.

It is to the people’s interest to reject both factions and chart our own course, working to build a society where national freedom, social justice and genuine peace are enjoyed by all.