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FIRING LINE: Coke vs. Fentanyl

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

It’s hard to get over Sunday’s Superbowl of barbs and broken glass between President Bongbong Marcos and his foul-mouthed predecessor, Rodrigo R. Duterte. It was somewhat of a political debate that could be headlined: Coke versus Fentanyl.

Duterte’s calling Marcos a “drug addict” – classic pot calling the kettle black. I guess old habits die hard. But I do wonder if, indeed, at any point, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had him on its watchlist.

In the opposing corner, we have Marcos playing doctor, diagnosing Duterte with fentanyl-fueled foul language. It’s like a twisted episode of “House,” but instead of solving medical mysteries, they’re just hurling insults.

In this Coke versus Fentanyl showdown, I’m not sure who’s winning in the eyes of the Filipino public. To me, both of them are easy losers. One’s accused of snorting lines, the other of popping pills, and I still can’t believe that we’re talking about two elected presidents.

Can we get a more dignified “presidential” debate? Let’s hope they start discussing policies soon, or maybe we’re doomed to suffer in this mist of clouded minds running our country till 2028.

Jail time remark 

Senator Imee Marcos, interviewed on Tuesday, was asked to comment on Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s remarks calling for her brother’s resignation as President.

The senator, who was present at the Davao rally, said Mayor Baste repeatedly apologized to her at the venue about what he’d said. And the presidential “super ate” said she did understand the younger Duterte’s outburst, perhaps, with the dreadful idea in his head that both his father and sister – Vice President Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio – would be sent to jail.

That response, of course, was classic condescension. Imee knew her curt reply was a backhanded attempt to extinguish Baste’s fire with gasoline.

Instead of addressing the concerns raised by Baste, she throws shade, hinting at imaginary fears of the Duterte family facing jail time. But in the world of deflecting questions, the lady senator is clearly a seasoned pro, making a veiled threat over calls that his brother be ousted or resign.

At this point, I laughed a sinister laugh. Or was it hers that I’d only imagined?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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