a fortnightly publication of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
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Intense in-fighting in Marcos-Duterte ruling coalition out in the open

Triggered by the severe conflict over the bureaucratic loot in the controversial “confidential funds” of the Office of Vice President (OVP) Sara Duterte (daughter of former President Rodrigo Duterte), the feud between the Marcos Jr. and Duterte factions in the ruling coalition intensifies.

Like a pot calling the kettle black, former President Rodrigo R. Duterte called the Philippine House of Representatives the “most rotten institution” in the country after his daughter Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio was stripped of hundreds of millions of pesos in confidential funds for next year. Duterte accused congress of corruption and called for an investigation.

“There is no limit to their pork barrel,” Duterte said, referring to the practice of some lawmakers in appropriating budgets for district projects that the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) Supreme Court outlawed in 2013.

Duterte’s tirade came after congress stripped several agencies including the OVP of their confidential funds, transferring P1.23 billion worth of these funds to security agencies. Sara Duterte had sought P500 million in confidential funds for her office and another P150 million for the Education department, which she also heads.

Rodrigo Duterte said he told his daughter how ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, a member of the progressive Makabayan Bloc, should be the “first target” of the confidential fund expenses. He declared that his daughter’s intelligence funds should be used “to kill” Castro and “all communists.”

In an unprecedented move, party leaders of the House of Representatives pushed back against former President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent tirades against Congress, its leader Speaker Martin Romualdez (cousin of Marcos Jr.), and for threatening to kill a member of the legislative branch.

Recently, Representatives (former President) Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Isidro Ungab – both close allies of Duterte – were removed from their position as deputy speakers for not supporting the resolution to support House Speaker Romualdez.

In a related development, General Romeo Brawner, chief-of-Staff of the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said that there is a destabilization plot against the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Brawner said some of those involved in the destabilization plot against the Marcos administration are former AFP officers. He said they are calling to stage rallies and coup d’etat to oust the president.

Obviously, the escalating conflict between the Marcos Jr. and Duterte factions is in preparation for the 2028 presidential elections.

This infighting for spoils is within the context of increasingly limited economic resources. Growth slowing for three straight quarters confirms economic decline under the Marcos Jr administration. The economic rebound and momentarily fast growth from reopening, which was measured from the worst economic contraction in the country’s history, is over. The economy has returned to its trajectory of slowing growth that started even before the excessive pandemic lock downs.