The real plot aims to oust Duterte, not Robredo

Ricardo Saludo

Ricardo Saludo

Recently, a well-known astrologer who correctly predicted the presidential election victories of Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump, said the Philippine leader faced uncertainty for some months. “But if he gets through March,” the astrologer allowed, “Duterte will be stronger.”

That scenario may now be unfolding.

With the resignation of Vice-President Leni Robredo from the Cabinet, the gloves may now be off between the current administration and the previous one.

No more mincing words and pulling punches between the Duterte and Aquino camps, just to maintain cordial relations between the President and the VP, who belongs to former president Benigno Aquino 3rd’s Liberal Party.

Now, if Robredo leads protests against Duterte’s bloody anti-drug war and his decision to let the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos be buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes), she does not have to feel awkward in Palace meetings.

Similarly, Duterte and his officials won’t hesitate in filing graft cases against Aquino-era officials, including thousands named and shamed in Duterte’s lists of local leaders, police officers, and judges allegedly in cahoots with drug syndicates.

Already, Robredo has accused the administration of plotting to remove her as VP — a grave charge which seems to include the Supreme Court, headed by Aquino-appointed Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and empowered to decide the election protest against Robredo filed by her rival Bongbong Marcos.

Meanwhile, civil society groups supporting Duterte, have filed with the Justice Department a corruption case against Aquino’s Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose Emilio Abaya and other DOTC officials over the P3.7-billion contract to buy car license plates, which was awarded with no budget allocation.

And if that weren’t enough to signal the end of friendly ties between past and present regimes, the Presidential Spokesperson told media on Tuesday that more investigations and charges may arise, though the government was still more focused on its governance programs.

The LP is reportedly re-examining ties with Duterte’s Pilipino Democratic Party-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which dominates Congress and local governments after dozens of legislators and local leaders switched over after elections.

Moreover, many local, police and agency officials accused or suspected of drug links would be glad to join a revitalized LP-led opposition. Also keen to see Duterte’s name-and-shame campaign against narco-graft stalled by fiscalizing politicians are hundreds of PNP officers and men accused of drug links.

Fight to the finish?
How will this political battle play out? The ongoing Senate and House hearings on drug trafficking and extrajudicial killings, and street protests against EJKs and the Marcos burial give a foretaste of what may be ahead.

Congress and national agencies under Duterte’s sway will likely intensify probes and prosecution of Aquino-era irregularities.

Besides narcotics protection by local officials as well as former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, other anomalies due for investigation are Aquino’s illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program, and pork barrel graft involving LP stalwarts. Both have long been in the hands of Aquino-appointed Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who, by contrast, had fast-tracked cases against Aquino’s opponents.

For their part, the LP and its activist, academe and media allies would likely step up criticism of the administration in social and mass media, and mobilize more rallies in the hope of eroding Duterte’s record-high public approval ratings.

Plus: The Aquino camp aims to whip up public sympathy, if not outrage over the election protest against VP Robredo.

If her victory is sustained, she would be cheered for defeating the purported scheme. And if she loses, then more demonstrations would be mobilized, partly by capitalizing on the negative sentiment ignited against the Marcoses by the surreptitious burial of the late strongman.

There is talk that the High Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, could come to a decision as early as January. The protest covers a limited number of tallies which swung Marcos’s 1-million-vote lead to a 200,000 deficit overnight, making a speedy PET resolution possible.

And if certain justices claim undue pressures and dubious proceedings in the tribunal, that could provoke public animosity and anger, which could be used to instigate broad dissatisfaction toward Duterte.

The ides of March
So is all this coming to a head in March? Well, the coming holiday season from December to mid-January would be a slow month for protests, especially with school out. Congress would also take a break from its hearings on narco-protectors.

But when universities resume in January, so would rallies. To head off such agitation, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre could file graft charges against Aquino-era officials before then.

The LP would likely try to portray such charges as harassment of the legitimate opposition, just as Sen. de Lima has won sympathy from some religious and university quarters by claiming to be the victim of false accusations for having denounced drug-related killings.

Will the public waver in its support for Duterte? Probably not.

The EJK and Marcos burial issues have not won broad public support. Approval ratings suggest that most Filipinos see Duterte’s tough measures against drugs and crime to be successful and warranted. And the anti-Marcos protests are largely confined to selected Metro Manila universities.

Working-class Filipinos remain satisfied with the administration, and that positive sentiment is likely to continue or even improve with economic growth tipped to accelerate, driven by continued consumer spending and more infrastructure outlays.

A further factor that could help Duterte is the coming takeover of US President-elect Donald Trump. The latter has reportedly expressed support for the former’s bloody anti-narcotics campaign.

Moreover, Trump has said he would like to reduce US military action abroad, which may temper those in Washington who may wish to see regime change in Manila amid Duterte’s shift away from America and toward China and Russia.

If the US won’t support anti-Duterte moves, then the LP would not gain a powerful ally. It would also undercut efforts to mobilize the uniformed services against the him.

Still, while ouster moves don’t look promising, for narco-syndicates and corrupt officials, it’s the only chance to escape prosecution, prison and death.

It’s Digong or them.


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  1. I think the over simplification of opposition to Duterte as coming from the yellows is part of the Marcos Propaganda machine. It was only a few days ago that Duterte mentioned that the yellows are bent to oust him. In fact, in spite of my hating his uncivilized manners I admired President Duterte a lot for not engaging in negative attacks against the previous administration unlike Noynoy who was vindictive from start to finish.
    So I hope that President Duterte’s message today to VP Robredo that he is assuring her that she will finish her term as VP, is sincere and is an indication that although he is friendly with the Marcoses, he is not in any way a part of any sinister moves to unseat her. He even mentioned her mother who marched in rallies against Ferdinand Marcos.

    • Du30 will keep his promise to Leni that she will finish her term, her prison term that is when she is jailed for electoral fraud.

  2. Duterte will survive because of social media. The role of social media cannot be discounted as it has become the balancer between mainstream media and the institutions of the oligarchs. There is no way they can oust Duterte and I have a bold prediction that BBM will win as VP.

    Winners take it all and the losers will cry hard in their nook! Sorry LP, you belong to history. In contrast, Duterte and BBM will make a history.

  3. Aquino should face the death penalty for the deaths of those valiant SAF troopers in Mamasapano!

  4. I remember Robredo having said that she was not interested in running for VP because she is very new in Congress and does not know anything yet. I admired her when she said that. But then … she changed her mind when Aquino talked to her. That’s Robredo using a woman’s prerogative to change her mind for flimsy reasons.

  5. I have not seen any job done by VP to improved the life of Filipinos aside from criticising a sitting President. It’s typical for VP and Yellow (LP) to do nothing for the country but only to serve for themselves. Are we so blind?

  6. Support rally for Digong. Im all up for it!

    But March is far too long. Red tape has to go asap

    Just give us hints Mr President. We’re willing to wage a peaceful, or if so they want, a violent war for you and the country!

  7. Anybody who tries to insulate Duterte from his FIASCO after assuming the presidency in 6 months is stupid, moron and without common sense.

    Rising prices of basic goods is certainly not to be amused of by the majority poor including the 16 million idiots who elected him. 11 million filipinos are already hungry and certainly there will be more who can’t afford to buy basic goods for their survival.

    Let’s not play around. Killing filipinos and his all out shaming of Delima are not the solutions to the major poverty problem of the country but your president is dumb, psychotic and lunatic. He is not an economist but with Ph.D in EJK and moral defamation.

    • poverty is another issue, our poverty problem dates back ever since the world begun for filipino politics….you are as idiot as delima…kapal muks pa…everybody was pointing at her even the angels and saint and still she is there kicking and alive…kapal na pagmumukha talaga!!!

    • @Phil Eagle
      Who are you to judged … you believe those bias media print & say … you are more lunatic and psychophat hearing without thinking and no thinking just badmouthing … enough of you …. we see no wisdom on your comment … just play around the emotions that you can muster and yet you say 11 millions are hungry … yes hungry for the Yellows to be in Power again … as you see the reality speaks … only those Yellows who can’t move on … these are the same people who want to destroy this country to perpetuate their control of Power … there is no logic of what is their real struggle … we see nothing to the advancement of the Filipino socio-economic life and their revered leader .. the Aquino’s who occupy Malacanang and don’t do anything, just sit there in Malacanang to protect their turf … their so called Democratic ideals is a waste … for they cannot translate any positive development in our country …. yet up to now what they are fighting for is hollow and have no relevance in today’s world order. They always mix politics and economy together that is why this country is a mess. So for those people who name names are the one who come from the sewage gutter and must be eradicated.

    • Anybody who calls 16 million Filipinos as idiots is NOT a Filipino. 11 million Filipinos being hungry did not happen in the past 6 months. There were actually more when Aquino held the reigns. Let’s not play around, if all you can do is spout dissent and not give actual alternative solutions, then just keep sticking your heads up to Aquino’s ass (or probably you prefer Leny’s) and enjoy it there MORON.

    • im not sure how you arrived on your comment. I observed that there’s hatred in them. you even portray delima as a righteous person being shamed by du30. are blind?

    • Just another tard with peas size brain…yellows must have gave u lunch money for Mang Inasal to write this funny comment ah?

    • Just as Sen. Sotto correctly pointed out, this EJK thing is an overblown, exagerated issue scavengd by De Lima from trash just to create a bit of intetest and impact to unfounded, unverifed accusations meant only to discredit the president and his administration, couple that with her desperate attempt to save he skin from the looming criminal charges over her involvement in illegal drugs.

  8. Yang mga dilawan, sindikato ya na nabuo nu’ng panahon ni

    yang LP Yellows, sindikato yan nang panahon ni cory at ramos with the support of america. inilaglag nila si erap at gma para sila makabalik. subali’t ano ang kanilang ginawa? mas lalo pa binalahura ang ating bayan! napapanahon na para tuluyan na silang mawala.

  9. You summed it up correctly. We have DU30, the people’s champion, on one side fighting the narco-syndicates and corrupt officials, on the other side. Everyone I know is solidly behind DU30 and the changes he is bringing.

    It looks like a solid Trump/DU30 friendship is forming. That means the major player will change sides and move to support DU30.

  10. 2017 is the deciding year for Duterte. March is too short. I don’t think this nation is ready for the bad boy Duterte. He is a poison. I do not watch daily news killings 10 to 15 drug addicts a day. Very disgusting. News of killings makes me throw up.

    • Killings before this DU30 administration was more rampant and high in numbers. But the records show that is of low casualty. You don’t know the reason? Police on those days hide and don’t record those daily deaths and most are not reported. Now i’ve seen the media play out exaggeration of these deaths that even old folks who die of old age (by sickness) was recorded and counted by them as EJK. How on earth that would be? The answer is a smear campaign and character assassination of the people in this administration, the culprit as you all well know who has mastered this propaganda … ” THE YELLOWS (LP)” I can’t think of anybody else. (affiliates, allies,supporters and saboteurs) Plan B has started to be executed and will go on until their mission is complete. I pity this country because this place was infected by these lunatic, power hungry people.

  11. Hindi pa nga po nakakaupo si Pres. Duterte, niluluto na ang oust Duterte plot ng LP. Kaya ginawa ang lahat manalo lang si Leni? Ayaw tanggapin ng Yellow na tapos na sila sa masa? Hindi naman si Marcos ang issue. History na siya. Like NInoy Aquino is also history.
    Di kasi matanggap ng LP na talunan sila, na di na sila gusto ng madlang Pilipino. Bakit? Kasi nga, ito yun ilan sa mga dahilan: Luneta tourist hostage taking, pinaghigantihan sina Corona and PGMA dahil sa Hacienda Luisita, DAP, Mamasapano, MRT-LRT, di makapangisda sa Masinloc, maanomalyang mining, mga plate ng sasakyan, nawawalang donations sa Yolanda victims, 3Billiong unliquidated sa DSWD, at iyon pong Malampaya anomaly na mukhang nakalimutan na.

    • Kayo nga resolution ko in the past and future election: never to support LP candidates! Tama na! Sobra na!

  12. i think the LPs are in a hurry to oust du30 on the pretext of du30’s 6months deadline to eradicate drug problem so that they can place robredo as president. time is running out coz the recount might reveal that there is really cheating and that bbm really won the vice presidency. the only way for these LP to stop in their nefarious plan to oust du30 is to make sure bbm is the vice president. that is my analysis
    disclaimer: i voted for du30/robredo. i was hoping that 2 honest leaders will move our country forward. i was hoping leni will think for the greater good- her motto shd be : my loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins. so disappointed with her all talk, no action/presscons/photoshoot/power point presentations.