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From “drug addict”, Duterte calls Marcos Jr. a “good man”

From labeling Philippine President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. as a “drug addict”, ex-president Rodrigo Duterte appears to have softened his stance on his successor.

During a prayer rally in Cebu City on February 25, 2024, Duterte offered kind words to Marcos Jr., referring to the President as a “good man”.

“Bongbong Marcos is a good man. I had no problems when he became President. It’s true that I support him because he is good and if compared to me, he is very dignified, respectful, and humble, even back then, before he became President he was courteous,” Duterete said in mixed Cebuano and English.

Duterte’s remarks were a sharp departure from his statements during a protest rally in Davao City on January 28.

In the said Davao City rally against moves to amend the 1987 Constitution of the country, Duterte called his successor, who is also known as BBM, a drug addict.

Marcos Jr. struck back against Duterte on January 29 before the President left for a state visit to Vietnam.

“I think it’s the fentanyl,” Marcos Jr. said, referring to the former president’s previously self-admitted use of the opioid for pain management.

“It is highly addictive and it has very serious side effects. And PRRD [President Rodrigo D. Duterte] has been taking the drug for a very long time now. When was the last time he told us that he was taking fentanyl? Mga (Around) five, six years ago? Something like that. After five, six years it has to affect him,” Marcos Jr. told reporters.

Asked to deny that he is involved in illegal drugs, Marcos said, “I won’t even dignify the question.”

Following the bitter exchange between the two political figures, analysts said that this may be end of the political alliance that swept Marcos Jr. to the presidency and Duterte’s daughter Sara as vice president in the 2022 national elections.

Referring to the 2022 Marcos-Duterte alliance called the UniTeam, University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Encinas-Franco said, “I think they have now gone past the point of no return.”

“It will be an open warfare this year,” said Ronald Llamas, a political analyst and former presidential adviser to then President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“The opportunistic political alliance was not meant to last,” said Temario Rivera, chairperson of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance think-tank.

“The break seems to be taking place rather very early,” Rivera said.

“A breakdown of the formal alliance risk fomenting new divisions within the military, proving serious problems of governance and stability,” Rivera also said.

During the February 25 rally in Cebu, Duterte also appeared to have moderated his opposition to moves to amend the Philippine Constitution.

The ex-president said that he had nothing against the Marcos administration’s charter change efforts, provided these changes do not serve to advantage the current President by prolonging his term in office.

“So long as Marcos says or commits to the people that he wouldn’t run again,” Duterte said.

Duterte also said that so far, he has not seen Marcos commit a “big mistake”.

“Maybe those below him, but him, I haven’t heard anything. So, I continue to support him,” he said.

Marcos Jr. previously said that only the economic aspects of the Constitution will be addressed in the current initiative for charter change.

By Carlito Pablo

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