Duterte says Marcos risks same fate as dictator father amid charter change push

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Duterte says Marcos risks same fate as dictator father amid charter change push
This video grab taken on January 28, 2024 shows Philippine former president Rodrigo Duterte addressing supporters at a rally in Davao City, in Mindanao island. Supporters of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte were set to hold rival rallies on January 28, as a battle over the country's constitution highlighted a deepening rift between the powerful clans.
AFP / Ferdinandh Cabrera

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Rodrigo Duterte warned his successor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., that pursuing moves to change the Constitution could lead to his ouster, like what happened to his late dictator father. 

In a fiery speech Sunday evening, Duterte accused Marcos of being a “drug addict” despite offering no evidence and of trying to amend the Constitution to prolong his term of office. 

“Pumapasok kayo ng alanganin. Mr. President, baka susunod ka sa dinaanan ng tatay mo. Dyan ako takot. Ayaw kong mangyari sayo yan,” Duterte said at a prayer rally against charter change in Davao City, which coincided with the “Bagong Pilipinas” kick-off rally in Manila headlined by Marcos. 

(You are entering into uncertainty. Mr. President, you might follow the path of your father. I am afraid of that. I don’t want that to happen to you.)

He also cautioned Marcos that supporting charter change “will divide the nation and be bloody.”

Marcos Jr.’s father and namesake, who was known for widespread human rights abuses and plunder during his two-decade rule, was ousted in 1986 through a historic People Power Revolution. 

Duterte’s remarks deepen further the rift between his clan and the Marcoses, who teamed up in the 2022 national elections. 

Relations between the Duterte and Marcos families have soured as each seeks to solidify its power base ahead of the 2025 midterms, with the ongoing debate over charter amendments further straining the relationship. Duterte sees the attempt to change the Constitution as an attempt by Marcos to cling to power. 

“You want to perpetuate yourself in power at the expense of the lives of the people. Mabuti sana kung bright kayo eh kung drug addict ka lang naman at may asawa kang hungry for power,” Duterte said, referring to First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.

(It would be better if you were bright, but you’re just a drug addict with a spouse hungry for power.)

In a statement Monday morning, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said that Marcos “was never in our watch list.”

Hours before Rodrigo’s speech, Sebastian Duterte, Davao City Mayor and the former president’s youngest son, urged Marcos to step down. 

Meanwhile, Vice President Sara Duterte briefly appeared at the Malacañang-led rally, saying the education department that she also heads was one with all government agencies in building a new Philippines. 

But in a statement, she called on the public to oppose the ongoing signature campaign for people’s initiative.

Police, military urged to protect the charter

For the Duterte patriarch, “there is nothing wrong with the Constitution right now.” 

“People’s initiative does not involve buying the vote or the signature of people,” he said. 

The petition being circulated for people’s initiative aims to amend the Constitution to allow Congress to vote on amendments or revisions jointly, giving the lower chamber an advantage as they outnumber the 24-member Senate.

Sen. Imee Marcos accused her cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, of funding the ongoing signature campaign for the people’s initiative for Charter change with as much as P20 million per district.

The former chief executive also called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to protect the Constitution. 

“Mr. President, kaibigan kita. Kapag pinilit mo ito lalabas ka ng Malacañan kagaya noong panahon na pinalayas kayo,” he said.

(Mr. President, you are my friend. If you insist on this, you will be ousted from Malacañan just like what happened before.) — with report from Agence France-Presse

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