MANILA- When the former and current presidents of the Philippines officially accused one another of medicine addiction, the family rivalry between the Duterte and Marcos kingdoms reached a boiling point.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte accused his son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., of being a long-time “drug addict” during an event in his town of Davao, in the southeastern Philippines.
In the midst of growing hostilities with the ruling administration, which has steadily expelled elements from the previous regime and restricted the Duterte family’s access to public assets, including secret funds for Vice President Sara Durante and sizable pork barrel funding for the Davao city under a new generation, the former president remarked,” We have the drug addict leader, son of the bitch.”  ,
The mayor of Davao at the time, Bastian” Baste” Duterte, his son, urged the chairman to “resign” from his position. In response, Marcos Jr., who is relatively sophisticated and soft-spoken, deviated from his usual demeanor and publicly accused his predecessor of relying on addictive painkillers.
” I believe it to be the Fentanyl. The strongest drug you can purchase is morphine. Former chairman Duterte has been taking the drug for a very long time now, according to the chairman, who also claimed that it is extremely addictive and has very serious side effects.
In addition to the specific insults, Duterte has officially threatened to remove Marcos Jr. through popular uprising and openly called for the independence of his house island of Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines.
Yet, the possibility that Duterte may act as a swirl of opposition to Marcos Jr.’s West-leaning foreign policy worries major security officials just as much. Marcos Jr. has taken a more proactive stance in the South China Sea over the past month, which has resulted in several violent clashes between Spanish ships and Chinese rivals.
The president of the Philippines has welcomed increased security cooperation with the United States, Japan, Australia, South Korea, India, and Europe in an effort to counter China’s better government.
Marcos Jr. has been explicitly cautioned against taking an confrontational stance against China, a significant diplomatic trading partner, by both Duterte and prominent Filipino-Chinese businessmen. The Duterte-Marcos conflict is intensifying in many ways as a result of the region’s intensified New Cold War between the US and China.
Risks of secession
Leading officials in the southern island province have condemned Duterte’s risks of secession and the creation of a” individual, independent” Mindanao. Importantly, not even former best generals who worked in Duterte’s cabinet held back.
Since” there is only one Philippines,” National Security Advisor Eduardo Ao, who previously served as Duterte’s interior minister and commander of the Spanish military, issued a warning that the government” did not dare to use its authority and forces to quiet and stop all attempts to decapitate the Republic.”
The former leading common and Duterte official continued,” The government will use decisive force to thwart any attempt to split any portion of the Philippines because it is steadfast in securing the sovereignty and integrity of that territory.”
This call for isolation is anathema to the letter and spirit of the Philippine Constitution, which is the barrier of our world’s personality as a people, cautioned political harmony director Carlito Galvez Jr., who also served in that capacity under Duterte.
Another original Trump ally, Gilbert Teodoro Jr., the secretary of defense for the Philippines, was quick to join the fight against a” separate and independent Mindanao.”
We may strictly enforce this mandate whether directly or internally, Teodoro declared, underscoring the unanimity of the defense establishment’s opposition to the original president.” Securrying the sovereignty of State and integrity of national territory as enshrined in the Constitution.
However, despite the fact that Duterte’s quixotic ( if not treasonous ) call for the secession of his home island failed to gain any traction, his opposition to his successors ‘ pro-Western foreign policy has gained more clout among Philippine elites, particularly the ruling business class.
Teresita Sy-Coson, vice chairwoman of SM Investments , Corp’s, and NBSP, was forewarned during a significant occasion for her company, the largest real estate and mall operator in the Philippines, that” China is quite near to us, we cannot be too antagonistic.” Yet though we are aware of what is taking place, I suppose we must conduct it through a more amicable negotiation,” she continued.
Her opinions were shared by different prominent Filipino and Chinese businessmen. The Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc.’s leader, Cecilio Pedro, recently issued a warning about the potential costs of investment due to the escalating maritime dispute between China and the Philippines.
” The issue with the big Chinese companies is that they do n’t want to invest until they are clear on the future course of relations between China and the Philippines.” They wo n’t come if the picture is unclear, Pedro warned the media during a recent interview. They want to make sure that we have a clear path in the next five to ten years in order to bring in money, he continued.
Critics point out that despite China being the Philippines ‘ major trading partner, bilateral trade is heavily uneven, with the country recently experiencing significant trade deficits.
A third of the Philippines ‘ full regular imports, totaling US$ 2.72 billion, came from China in December. The Philippines, on the other hand, only exported$ 821.53 million to China, or roughly 13.3 % of all supplies during that time.
Furthermore, there is no proof that diplomatic economic relations have been significantly impacted by rising geopolitical tensions. If anything, diplomatic trade grew rapidly during the Benigno Aquino III management, which in 2016 brought China before an international court to resolve the South China Sea disputes between the two sides.
Despite a$ 26 billion commitment made by China on one occasion, the steadfastly pro-Beijing Duterte management failed to get any significant Chinese facilities investments during its six-year tenure.
However, Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy change toward the West is being questioned by opponents of the president. The nickname son of the former Filipino president vowed to pursue closer ties with China when he first took office, but over the past year, as maritime disputes have grown more intense, his position has gradually toughened.
In addition to resistance
Marcos Jr., who is currently facing many court cases in the US on charges of widespread corruption and human rights violations during his father’s dictator, may have received more than” royal immunity,” according to Pro-Biel and other critics.
Some observers believe that in exchange for easier access to military bases and closer security ties with China, Washington may have relaxed its scrutiny of the Marcoses ‘ massive illicit wealth, estimated to be worth$ 10 billion and hidden in various offshore accounts.
However, there is no doubt that Marcos Jr.’s foreign policy is well-liked among Filipinos, the majority of whom have regularly supported greater cooperation with European allies.
The nickname son of the former Spanish dictator is enjoying his cake of fame at home and the advantages of closer ties with the West in many ways. He has also been able to gradually marginalize the once-powerful Dutertes as a result of the China issue, who appear to be engaged in an extremely hopeless and chaotic political conflict.
Richard Javad Heydarian can be reached at @RicheyDarian on X, originally Online.