MANILA – Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte thinks that political dynasties are bad. But the way the prevailing political winds blow, it seems that a dynasty would develop.
Nine months away from midterm elections that could determine the success or failure of his presidency, his daughter Sara Duterte, is rapidly emerging as a power broker who seeks to support his ambitious policy agenda, and say some experts and initiates, are final follow-up.
By his own confession, the 73-year-old president is marking. On Tuesday he crippled his uphill struggle to tackle illegal drugs and reduce state corruption, predicting that he will "hardly make a dent" in his remaining four years in office.
During a ceremony and again during a dinner afterwards, he said he was tired, annoyed and thought about stopping, and ended his sombre speech of an hour, 20 minutes with: "I tell you, I'm done to step down and retire. "
That is in stark contrast to his 40-year-old daughter, who has begun to maneuver to build alliances and to extend her small party in the southern Davao region into a new political jug, as tears appear in her father's reigning PDP Laban party.
bringing together political factions to launch a dramatic July 23, replacing the divisive Duterte ally Pantaleon Alvarez with the landlord replacing him with the veteran Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 71, a former president with influence and connections to ensure support for Duterte and his agenda a.
The move was helped by a relationship between Sara Duterte and Imee Marcos, 62, a provincial governor and key figure in the still influential family of the last dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled about the Philippines for two decades before being ousted during an uprising of 1986.
The two women posed together last week for photos, each with one hand that did the commercialized fist of Duterte , and make a "V" sign synonymous with the rule of Marcos with the other
The rise of Rodrigo Duterte was a blessing for the Marcos family. Imee Marcos regularly visits his official events and in 2016 Duterte gave her long-standing wish that her father would be buried with military honor at a cemetery of Manila.
Duterte also said last week that if he got up, her brother, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a former senator known as "Bongbong", would have been a capable substitute for him.
Marcos Jr. came close to Leni Robredo, a rival of Duterte, in the vice-presidential election of 2016, but he challenged the outcome at the Supreme Court.
& # 39; New center of gravity & # 39;
Richard Heydarian, an author, columnist and academic specializing in politics, said that the Marcos family wanted to remain relevant nationally and in a political culture where loyalty is easily shifting, Sara Duterte was now generally recognized as a worthwhile value is to get in the back.
"People in the neighborhood (Rodrigo) Duterte are looking for a new center of gravity, seeing signs of an exhausted president and seeing that there is some sort of succession that can protect their interests," he said.
"He has a very superficial network of politicians, he is not at his peak, he just has to go on as long as he can."
Duterte acknowledges that, and said Tuesday that he can not resign, because a constitutional follow-up would mean giving power to opposition leader and vice-president Robredo, who was elected separately. He said that Robredo is not at work – what she refuses – and that he would rather take over a junta.
Duterte's relationship with daughter Sara, however, is often rocky and she has portrayed himself as his reluctant successor as mayor of Davao City
Like her father, she is feared and respected, and she is known as bone, unpredictable and for the open exchange of barbs with the president.
Despite that, some doubt her loyalty to him. Although she denies being interested, she and Duterte's other allies, including his spokesman, his special assistant and his former chief, are tipped to run for the 24-seat Senate, just like Imee Marcos.
game changer for the president, who has built a strong majority in the House of Representatives, but needs the control of the upper house to fulfill his promises.
Under a lot of plans he wants to rewrite the constitution and implement his most important economic policy , an $ 180 billion infrastructure designed to modernize the country, boost spending, create jobs and lure investment.
"Now is the opportunity to further consolidate power by controlling both houses of Congress and local government units so that we can all continue in cadence," said a member of an alliance with nine parties d by Sara Duterte last week.
He asked anonymity, saying that only Sara Duterte could speak about the alliance.
"The goal is to fill the senate with people who can help … We do not want people who just want Opposition scientist Antonio Tinio said that Rodrigo Duterte was essentially a local politician who was pushed into the presidency and those allies "19659003] Tinio is skeptical about Duterte's talk about retirement and is one of many opponents who think he will try going beyond his permissible six-year term – an idea that Duterte said this week was idiotic.
Plan B, Tinio said, was his daughter who succeeded him.
"As attempts to extend President Duterte's term by change of charter, it is very likely that the Davao formula of Dutertes will prevail for dynastic succession, "he said – Edit by Raju Gopalakrishnan