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Opinion

Uniteam break up means ICC can come!

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

There are observations that the Uniteam, which was hastily organized for political ends in the 2022 elections in extravagant conditions now seems to lie in total disarray. Uniteam was composed of Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional group based in Davao City publicly known as organized by the city mayor, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of former president Joseph Estrada, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats of former presidents Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and a newly-formed Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, led by Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. I believe it was pure expediency that bound the four groups together. Their motivations were personal craving for power although their pronouncements were carved in words for good governance. In fact, I am certain that the different leaders of each group did not have time to read much less understand the political philosophies of their counterparts. Given that ignorance of one another’s underlying governmental principles, the Uniteam was doomed from the beginning.

The band tying the Uniteam together was made of individual strands of personal agenda. Unity was only an appearance but not a fact. In truth, it was as fragile as it could be. Each strip of the four political parties had a different character and theory of government and exclusively designed only to preserve or promote the interest of its group. All of its strength is used only for its own but did not contribute any strength to the other supposed members of the Uniteam. So that despite the public display of affection among them, the Uniteam was as strong only as each purported teammate but not as a combined force of four. For instance, the PDF of Marcos Jr. was only loyal to him and not to Sara Duterte Carpio. During the campaign period, I met PDF campaigners asking for votes for BBM only. They mentioned nothing about the vice presidential candidate. It was much the same way that the Hugpong, the very party which was publicized as being abandoned by Sara, worked. The Davao group was only a beholden to her and not to Marcos Jr. such that its field operators focused only for Sara and no one else.

It never surprised me to see PDF and Hugpong leaders BBM and Inday Sara respectively eventually espousing conflicting policies. That signals the breakup of Uniteam. The biggest issue is the coming of the International Criminal Court investigators. The ICC is investigating crimes allegedly committed in the country between November 1, 2011 and March 16, 2019, the day before the country’s withdrawal from the ICC. This expands the scope of the investigation beyond the Duterte presidency’s “war on drugs” to also include killings during Duterte’s time as Davao City mayor.

When PDF and Hugpong still stayed in the shadow of the Uniteam, BBM was against the coming of ICC investigators which listed such persons of interest named in documents relevant to the investigation to include former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Sara Duterte Carpio, Bong Go, Bato de la Rosa, Vitaliano Aguirre, and Jose Calida, among others. That stand presumably confirmed the protective mantle of BBM being thrown to shield Duterte and company. But, the winds of change recently came. The former firm BBM position of corralling our shores from ICC got relaxed. This time, the president using carefully-worded diplomatic statement, turned 160 degrees around. While President Marcos Jr. said that the matter is “under study” we took it as his allowing the ICC to come to our shores to investigate and expose Duterte et al to a possible risk of criminal conviction. Clearly that has become BBM vs. Sara.

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