Conflicts within the Duterte administration are worsening to the point that the president is now being openly challenged by the men and women he had handpicked to join his government,
This became even more apparent in the last few days with the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) daring to ask Mr. Duterte to fire an official believed to be among his “untouchables.”
Previously, four of his Cabinet secretaries had raised their concerns about the proposed shift to a federal form of government, which had been one of the president’s campaign promises, one which he vowed would become reality before his term ended.
So what exactly is happening within the regime?
It would seem that many officials are prepping themselves for an early end to the administration brought about by the president’s own pronouncements of late. In the past few weeks, Mr. Duterte has referred to himself as a lameduck president and for the umpteenth time threatened to resign. He has also been frequently absent from the public eye fueling speculation that he is sicker than he cares to admit.
Communist leader JomaSison’s claim that Mr. Duterte is in a coma may be an exaggeration, but the president has appeared tired and haggard in the few times he has been seen in public. Also, let no one forget that Mr. Duterte himself admitted early in his term that he was taking the drug fentanyl on a daily basis because of his doctor’s orders.
Incidentally, Joma followed up his original claim by saying he was pleased that his former student was still alive if unwell so that he would eventually “be held accountable for his crimes against the people.”
Over the weekend, it was learned that around 10 officers of the PCOO had written a letter to the president asking that assistant secretary Mocha Uson be terminated. This, despite the fact that Mr. Duterte had made it clear that Uson was one of his favorite appointees and was therefore considered a sacred cow.
Uson’s numerous faux pas had gotten to the point that the officials of the press office could no longer work with her. The breaking point came when she released a badly made and borderline obscene video in social media pushing for the merits of federalism.
The PCOO officials probably believed that the ridiculous video made impossible their already difficult task of convincing the people – majority of whom do not support federalism based on credible surveys – to opt for the change in the form of government, a cause near and dear to the heart of the president.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is probably not a signatory as his father was appointed ambassador just last week despite his total lack of qualifications.
I say probably because the signatories to the letter are not known, but there has been no denial that the letter was forwarded to the president, who may or may not be too ill to take action on the matter.
One wag suggested that the next set of officials that the president will fire will be the 10 signatories. That’s how influential Uson is with this administration.
Sooner or later, all good things will come to an end, and the Duterte administration officials are aware of this. The scary part is that those who have nowhere to go in the post-Duterte era will make hay while the sun hasn’t fully set. In other words, they will answer the age old question, “What are we in power for?” by making sure that their pockets are properly padded for their dark days ahead.
There has been talk of Mr. Duterte planning to form a council to handle matters of state if anything happens to him. This may be so, but it is highly doubtful that the military will support such an illegal body, considering that the Constitution only allows the vice president to succeed the president should the worst case scenario take place.
I, for one, will be happy to gloat at the humiliation of the public officials like Uson who will be begging for forgiveness for all the insults they threw LeniRobredo’s way, then offer to serve her new administration. They have been vicious in their personal attacks against the vice president. They forget that karma is a universal law and they will get their comeuppance sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, the internal strife within the Duterte administration continues. It cannot end well for the worst president the country has ever had.