The Philippine Star : Marcos-Duterte duo looms large in 2022

News & Interviews
25 July 2021

By Federico D. Pascual Jr. | The Philippine Star

If President Duterte runs for vice president in the May 2022 elections as he has said often enough, he will likely have former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos as his presidential partner.

Such a strategic link-up of the Marcos and the Duterte dynasties would be so overwhelming that only divine intervention could prevent its sweeping the 2022 national positions down to the senatorial level.

The political opposition, still a loose caucus of individuals brought together mainly by their common contempt for Duterte, could find its members dazed and defeated even before the votes are counted on Election Day.

A variant of the Marcos-Duterte tandem has Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as the “Duterte” half of the combination. More about that Bongbong-Sara team-up several paragraphs below.

At this point, we find only Mayor Sara and Senator Ping Lacson evincing a serious intention to run for president. Others, such as Senator-boxer Manny Pacquiao, who is training abroad, and former senator Sonny Trillanes, who is still testing the waters, look tentative.

Nothing definite has been heard from the lumbering Liberal Party, which we had expected to lead the opposition. As for 1Sambayan, which has been threatening to form an opposition coalition, it has not grown beyond being a socio-civic club.

What/Who will organize and revitalize disparate opposition elements to move quickly as one with the people to stop what looks like an impending viral sweep by a Marcos-Duterte alliance?

President Duterte cannot be paired convincingly with any other candidate except Bongbong Marcos. His running with daughter Sara as the presidential bet looks so awkward that it could be seen as campaigning just for the fund of it.

As for the President’s sliding down to VP with his loyal assistant Bong Go on top, the contortions could pass for a circus clown act. In fairness, Go (a senator) has denied he was interested in the presidency, especially after having seen up close how man-killing the job is.

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Duterte is left with no choice but Marcos, who has remained quiet – probably so as not to jeopardize his motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court (as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal) decision junking his protest against the 2016 election of Vice President Leni Robredo.

The more excitable spectators, many of whom are still milling around despite the pandemic protocols, will enjoy watching a return bout, this time for the presidency, between Marcos and Robredo in 2022.

But the last time Robredo talked about her plans, she said among other things she did not have the resources for an effective presidential campaign. (We have no data on election spending, but we imagine that one needs at least P5 billion just to make his/her presence felt as a serious candidate.)

As fallback, Robredo has moved her legal residence to Camarines Sur, her home base, where she could run for governor or for Naga City mayor, the post her late husband Jesse held before joining the Cabinet of then-president Noynoy Aquino.

Still, her admirers are praying that the billions needed would drop from somewhere and help convince her to run, possibly as standard bearer of 1Sambayan. If she does, it could be with Trillanes as her VP partner, and a hurriedly assembled senatorial lineup.

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Marcos knows that the time to strike is now. He must capture the presidency in 2022 – at all costs and by whatever means – instead of waiting six more years for the next presidential train in 2028.

Bongbong’s dear mother Imelda, now 92, is longing to see their family return to the presidential Palace they abandoned in 1986 in panic. Once resettled in Malacañang, her only begotten son could grant her an absolute pardon for her criminal convictions.

Marcos should be comfortable running with Duterte, whom the family already helped to get elected president in 2016.

Duterte does not need complex calculations to know that Marcos is his best choice for presidential partner. As bonus, he could even look forward to a virtual free ride with his campaign expenses, we imagine, being absorbed by Marcos.

But if his main reason for running for VP is just to continue enjoying immunity from suit, Duterte can drop that idea and just work out Sara’s becoming VP of Marcos – with Marcos solemnly committing to protect and pardon him if he is later found guilty of anything.

Whether it is Rodrigo Duterte or Sara Duterte running as VP, a Marcos-Duterte tandem would be formidable – again, barring any divine (or devious) intervention.

You see a better/bitter life coming?

Here is another case of seeing the glass either half-empty or half-full. But since it is SONA time tomorrow – when all things bright and beautiful Duterte made them all – many of us play along and see it as half-full.

We saw a headline yesterday saying that 40 percent of Filipinos look forward to having the quality of their lives improving in the next 12 months, based on a survey report that looked like a vote of confidence in the administration.

Looking more closely at the survey results, one finds that it was not actually 40 percent of Filipinos, but only 37 percent of 1,200 adults who were reportedly interviewed face-to-face June 23-26.

We cannot attribute the optimistic outlook of the 37 percent to the oncoming Christmas. We think it is because Filipinos always want to see brightness even in the darkest of times. Besides, we don’t want negative statistics ruining the SONA message.

If 37 percent are optimistic, are those in the remaining 63 percent pessimistic? Seven percent say life will worsen, 42 percent say life will remain as is and 14 percent did not answer. Is the glass half-full or half-empty with 49 percent (7+42) not sharing the optimism of the 37 percent?

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