Sara prefers private talk with Marcos on First Lady issues

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
Sara prefers private talk with Marcos on First Lady issues
Vice President Sara Duterte.
Inday Sara Duterte / Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Whatever step she takes to deal with the recent public rebuke from First Lady Liza Marcos will be taken up privately with the Chief Executive, Vice President Sara Duterte said yesterday.

While she stressed that it was the First Lady’s right to feel angry over the past year’s state of affairs between the Dutertes and Marcoses, the Vice President said Liza’s “personal feelings have nothing to do” with her mandate as a government official.

She also urged the public to talk about more important matters the nation is facing.

“As a person, the First Lady has the right to feel bad and angry… For us to move forward, we will leave the next steps to whatever outcome my private conversation with President Marcos would be,” Duterte said in a statement.

She has yet to confirm whether she has reached out to the First Lady since the latter’s television interview, wherein she expressed anger and disappointment over Duterte’s appearances at rallies calling the President a drug addict and seeking his ouster. The Vice President’s father, former president Rodrigo Duterte spearheaded those rallies.

Liza had been seen giving Duterte the cold shoulder during public
 appearances since early this year. The First Lady admitted that she had been intentionally ignoring the Vice President.

Duterte’s soured relations with members of the Marcos family, including the President’s cousin Speaker Martin Romualdez, have prompted an outpouring of calls among politicians and lawmakers for her to step down as education secretary.

Duterte has been facing mounting calls to resign since last year, even more so this year after Liza bared that she felt disrespected by the Vice President’s presence at rallies where the former president had repeatedly called his successor a drug addict.

“You will go to a rally, your President will be called a drug addict, you’re going to laugh. Was that the right thing to do? Even (former vice president) Leni (Robredo) never did that,” Liza said earlier, referring to videos that captured the Vice President laughing as her father was calling Marcos bangag – high on drugs.

Amid calls for her resignation, the Vice President has urged the public to turn its attention toward bigger problems confronting the country.

“We should be focused on addressing these problems. The prices of food and other goods continue to rise, aggravating the hunger many of our citizens experience,” she said.

“The threat of water and electricity supply shortage is also looming while illegal drugs remain prevalent. We have not yet ended the threat of criminality, terrorism and insurgency in our country,” she said. “These are the things we need to respond to. Let’s prioritize the Philippines.”

However, Duterte’s strained relations with some members of the Marcos family do not indicate she had lost favor with the President himself.

Last Friday, the pair appeared at the Philippine National Police Academy’s graduation rites in Silang, Cavite where they made beso-beso.

Marcos had also defended Duterte’s silence on China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea against Filipino vessels and fishing boats.

Politicians and experts have been citing cracks in the Marcos-Duterte alliance since last year, including the public trading of barbs between former president Duterte and some members of the House of Representatives, led by Romualdez.

This was after the chamber, whose mandate includes the power of the purse, realigned the confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education.

The P650-million combined confidential and intelligence funds of the two offices that the younger Duterte heads have been transferred to agencies handling national security concerns.

Duterte had also been echoing calls of her family to block efforts by the Marcos administration and its allies to amend the 1987 Constitution.

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