PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte just confirmed my suspicion that his running for the vice presidency was meant to scare off his opponents or as I put it in my mind “to rattle his fellow oligarchs.” Yes, fellow oligarchs, for he is as much an oligarch as his family is a political dynasty.
Yet, I must admit I liked that he made oligarchs sneer in hypocritical disgust at his un-presidential public persona. Hypocritical because for me the only thing un-presidential a sitting President could do is fail to prioritize the delivery of basic services equitably to everyone. In that sense and in my book, no President has been truly presidential.
(I particularly liked the way he made the high and mighty Catholic bishops squirm and cry blasphemy when called out for their hypocrisy. These religious fellow oligarchs of his are doing nothing for the poor. They refuse to give today’s Filipino a liberating modern-day Christ in favor of the medieval Christ Spanish friars used to make inferior Indios submit to unjust Spanish rule.)
He is a bluffer and could still run. But I don’t think he should if he truly has the good of the country in mind. There are too many complicated and messy future political scenarios, including a possible constitutional crisis, should he run and win.
But if he does run, it would not be, as some quarters claim, to escape being sued. None of Marcos’ fellow oligarchs, not even the two Aquino Presidents, sued him. For that favor, they are now able to court the Marcoses for the votes of the solid North. For the same political expediency, they will not sue Duterte, the easier to court him for the votes of the South in future elections.
Factions of the oligarchy are like the covered wagons in movie Westerns that encircle women and children when the convoy is attacked. This time, however, they circle around the country’s seat of power to prevent it from being taken by Filipinos whom they have kept marginalized all this time. They will fight each other for the lead wagon position but never will they allow the circle to break.
Suing Duterte is taking a wagon out and breaking the circle. It creates a gap through which underprivileged Filipinos could gain access to a share of wealth and power. That they don’t want.
Thus I contend that Duterte’s fellow oligarchs oppose him not because they want to share power and make life better for everyone. They simply want to take their turn as lead wagon.
It is pure political gimmickry to make people believe that changing the lead wagon will change Filipino lives for the better. As long as the circle is unbroken (translate: unless social structures are changed) the rest of us will remain as outsiders looking in on oligarchs feasting inside the circle.