FIRING LINE: Be forewarned

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s climb to the race for the presidency last month surprised the nation, but it was not the surprise I had been waiting for. The truth finally overtook deception last Tuesday. The surprise I was expecting came like a wielding bolo on Bonifacio Day – Bong Go is not the Duterte administration’s bet for president.

Of course, many of us quietly understood the sarswela. The campaign strategy of the Dutertes has always been traced on a crooked line and cloaked in secrecy. With his most trusted man’s withdrawal from the race for president in 2022, is the President now ready for a change of heart?

For those who know the script very well, this is a foregone conclusion.

Even before Go’s declaration to run for vice president, then switch to president, and ultimate withdrawal from the race to continue on his six-year mandate as senator, the Duterte, Marcos, Macapagal-Arroyo and Estrada forces were already, as Voltes V would say, volting in.

See how the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats or Lakas-CMD of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) of former president Joseph Estrada forged their alliance with former senator Bongbong Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP) for a so-called “Solid North” and “Solid South” behind the BBM-Sara presidential tandem.

At the same time, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party faction loyal to the President was reinforcing its ranks for the campaign with the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) to rally support for Go and Duterte-Carpio.

But now that Go is out of the race, these two political blocs – one of them with absolutely no horses in the race except President Duterte himself for senator – are now naturally gravitating to each other.

Yes, Digong had been picking on Bongbong Marcos recently but despite his penchant for name-calling, note that the President had a tempered assault on his daughter’s running mate. Calling a presidential bet “spoiled” or “weak” doesn’t really count as character assassination. It is but a slap on the wrist for a man whose family had devoted a political lifetime pillaging government treasures and resources.

Filipinos are now worried and scared that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 would enter our shores, causing yet another surge in infections that would force us into lockdown and drain the economy. That’s valid, but so is the looming alliance that would cast its dark shadow over our midst for the next six years if we are not careful.

Like the feared Omicron variant, the political alliance of the Dutertes and Marcoses is not a matter of if but of when.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.thephilbiznews.com

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