It’s complicated, Marcos says of ties with VP, Dutertes

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
It�s complicated, Marcos says of ties with VP, Dutertes
HOT SEAT: President Marcos answers questions during the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines presidential forum at the Manila Hotel yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines — With continued attacks from his predecessor, President Marcos yesterday described his relationship with the Duterte family as “complicated.”

Marcos, however, said his relations with Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte haven’t changed.

During a question-and-answer portion at a luncheon hosted by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) at the Manila Hotel, Marcos was asked how he would reconcile his continued alliance with the Vice President amid her family’s vocal disdain over his policies.

“It’s complicated,” the President responded, laughing.

“But if you ask about… the one, of course, I have the most contact with is Inday Sara, and how we were with each other during the campaign, after the election, it hasn’t really changed. That’s what she always says,” he said, referring to the Vice President.

Duterte, who was Marcos’ runningmate in the May 2022 elections, is focused on her job and does not pay too much attention to her father and male siblings’ tirades against him, according to the President.

“Oh, are you all right (that) you’re in the middle of all of these?” the President said as asking the Vice President.

“She says, ‘No, I’ll just work. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just work and work and work and work.’ That’s her attitude,” Marcos said.

The President earlier defended the Vice President over her silence on China’s aggressive acts in the West Philippine Sea.

Last week, Marcos said that he was “horrified” by the supposedly secret “gentleman’s agreement” entered into by former president Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Philippines would not undertake repairs at the rusting BRP Sierra Madre, which remains grounded in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea and now serves as a naval outpost.

Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte have criticized Marcos in recent days.

The elder Duterte earlier said that Marcos should be content with his six-year term and no longer eye for a term extension, as the former president accused his successor of plotting such.

“Be content that God gave you a chance to serve the country as president … despite bad history during your father’s term,” he said during a rally in Davao del Norte last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Marcos was also asked about the ill-gotten wealth case against his family pending in New York, and which side he will be on.

“It’s hard for me to answer. I really haven’t looked at it in years,” he said. “My role as President is more important, that is my first priority.”

The Chief Executive also refused to comment when asked why he resisted to issue an apology for the atrocities committed during his father’s imposition of martial law.

Marcos: Philippines won’t hand over Duterte to ICC

Meanwhile, the Philippines will not hand over the former president should the International Criminal Court (ICC) issue an arrest warrant against him in relation to his deadly war on drugs that killed thousands of suspects without trial, according to Marcos.

At the same FOCAP forum, the President maintained that the ICC has no jurisdiction over the country.

“We don’t recognize the warrant that they will send to us,” he answered when asked whether or not he would hand over Duterte to the ICC should the latter issue an arrest warrant against the former president.

Marcos emphasized that the ICC has jurisdiction only over countries with “no judicial system working, no police force functioning.”

“In other words, there probably is war, and none of these issues about war crimes and all of these are being attended to simply because the administration, especially in the judiciary, especially in law enforcement, are not functioning,” he said.

“So that is the reason. We are well within international law when we take the position of not recognizing the jurisdiction of ICC in the Philippines,” he added.

In February, Marcos said the government would not cooperate with the ICC investigation on Duterte’s drug war, calling it a “threat” to the country’s sovereignty.

Duterte has been accused by the ICC of committing crimes against humanity over the deaths tied to his drug war.

More than 6,000 drug suspects have been killed in the previous administration’s drug war, based on government data.

In 2019, the Philippines officially cut ties with the ICC after it launched a preliminary probe into the thousands of drug-related deaths during Duterte’s term.

The ICC suspended its investigation after Manila said it was already looking into the crimes.

Marcos earlier said he is not inclined to rejoin the ICC since the justice system in the country is working.

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