There is an ongoing MAD (Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte) implosion. The alliance of the worst icons of fascism in the country is locked in factional conflict with the main camps jockeying for political dominance with none willing to bow to the other. Negotiations are furious as the deadline for the final lineup of 2022 election candidates approaches. It remains to be seen whether they can come up with an amicable arrangement. This is, however, unlikely as power-hungry tyrants never trust one another.
The Marcoses, the most moneyed of the factions, presently appear to dominate the alliance’s electoral plans. Ferdinand Jr. has established himself at the head of their pack and has committed himself as candidate for president. They are openly pushing to have Sara Duterte run his as vice president. Funds are flowing from the billions of pesos stashed away by the Marcoses to dominate the elections and buy political loyalties.
But the plan all along of the Dutertes is to have Sara Duterte run as president. They are playing up conflicts within the Duterte camp to make it appear that the daughter is independent and different from the father. This is a desperate bid to lend the Dutertes a fresh face, after it has been splattered with blood for the thousands killed over the past six years and tarnished by large cases of corruption.
Duterte wants to remain on top of the reactionary political heap. This goes along with the ambitions of Sara Duterte whose Davao reign show her to be a minidictator, who like father, has perpetuated her rule through sheer terror and billions of pesos of infrastructure projects funneled by her father to Davao City, and not much by political brilliance. Sara Duterte’s plan is boosted by support from Gloria Arroyo whose faction has enjoyed privilege under Duterte’s rule with cabinet positions, control of congress and corruption schemes.
Duterte mistrusts the Marcoses. For six years, Duterte just allowed the Marcos election protest for the vice presidency to rot in the Supreme Court. He knows what the Marcoses are capable of, had Bongbong become his vice president. And having failed the Marcoses, the Dutertes fear that the Marcoses will do the same to them.
On the other hand, the Marcoses mistrust Duterte, knowing how he failed them, despite his declarations of devotion to Marcos and the hero’s burial given the dictator. Having waited for six years, Bongbong is not likely to allow himself to run under a Duterte. But he is also wary how Duterte might play the disqualification case before the Comelec against him.
It is clear that the MAD alliance is now in the middle of furious negotiations and arm-twisting. Hundreds of billions of pesos worth of power and privilege are at stake. This is causing cracks in the MAD alliance to widen between mutually ambitious and distrusting factions.
While Duterte may want to secure his alliance with the Marcoses and Arroyos, the option of doing away with all matters of negotiations, setting aside the elections altogether and declaring martial law to establish a fascist dictatorship, remains on the table.