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DUTERTE SAYS MARCOS DRUG ADDICT, WARNED OF OUSTER ; PBBM counters former ex-President high on addictive drug fentanyl

By ALFRED GABOT and CLAIRE MORALES TRUE

Editor in Chief and Managing Editor

MANILA/DAVAO CITY – The once strong alliance of the Marcos and Duterte political clans has cracked further as thousands of supporters of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte gathered in separate big rallies in Manila and Davao City where the ex-leader alleged that his successor was a drug addict while his mayor son Sebastian dared the current president to resign.

Marcos shot back with a claim that former President Duterte may have been affected by the use of drug-addictive fentanyl that triggered his tirades against him, the First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and his cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, whom the elder Duterte blamed for aggressive moves to amend the 1987 Constitution through a supposed-to-be “people’s initiative” allegedly to perpetuate themselves in power.

The rare exchange of barbs was described by many as a clear public display of a deepening rift between the powerful clans.

Marcos simply laughed off but did not deny Duterte’s allegation even as the former president dared him to undergo drug test. ?” Duterte said. Marcos said he won’t dignify the drug accusations with an answer.

Duterte’s lawyer and former Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo admitted the former president had used fentanyl due to excruciating pain after a motorcycle accident but stopped before he became president in 2016.

Later, the ex-president himself said he took fentanyl with a doctor’s prescription and that he had stopped using it after he got better. “Now I’m asking you (Marcos), do you have prescription for cocaine? Where do you get your supply

Ironically, Vice President Sara Duterte, concurrent Education secretary, attended the Marcos rally at the President Quirino grandstand in Luneta, which was described as Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines) kick-off rally, indicating the two leaders were as close as they were during the presidential campaign which they spearheaded with unprecedented victory under the “Unity Team.” She  attended the Davao City prayer rally afterward where she expressed her disgust over the people’s initiative led by her rival Speaker Romualdez.

Marcos himself said his relationship with VP Duterte remains unchanged and said she would remain in her Cabinet post.

On her father\’s tirade, VP Duterte  clarified she does not need to agree with her father over his differences with Marcos saying her views are independent from those of her father and her brother Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte who had called for Marcos to resign.

“May respeto ako sa mga pananaw at opinyon ni dating pangulong Rodrigo Duterte pati na ng aking mga kapatid,” said the Vice President in a statement issued on Wednesday.

“Ngunit, katulad ng posisyon ko sa maraming isyu, hindi kailangan na sumasangayon ako sa lahat ng mga ito. Pinalaki ako ng aking mga magulang na may pagpapahalaga sa malayang pag-iisip at pagpapasya.”

“It’s exactly the same because (Vice President Duterte) hasn’t said anything of that nature,” Marcos Jr. said. “Wala naman siyang sinasabi na ganiyang klase kaya hindi ako nagbabago.”

Marcos Jr. also made it clear that he will keep Duterte as his education secretary, for which the vice president expressed her gratitude.

“Taos puso po akong nagpapasalamat kay Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. para sa kanyang patuloy na tiwala at kompyansa sa akin bilang kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Edukasyon,” she said.

“Mahalaga ang kanyang pagkilala sa papel ng lahat ng bumubuo ng Department of Education sa pagsulong ng 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda ng Marcos administration para sa isang Bagong Pilipinas.”

The Vice President also thanked Marcos Jr. for respecting her views especially regarding the controversial People’s Initiative.

“Nagpapasalamat in ako kay Apo BBM sa kanyang paggalang sa aking mga paninidigan,” she said.

“Katulad na lang ng aking pagtutol sa ‘Pera kapalit ng pirma sa People’s Initiative’ dahil insulto ito sa kahirapan ng ating mga mamamayan at paglabag sa kanilang karapatang magpasya ng malaya.”

The day after the Davao rally, the Duterte clan leader continued his tirade as he threatened to lead a secession of Mindanao from the Philippines. His former Speaker, Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte is leading a signature drive on the secession bid.

“This is not rebellion, not sedition, there’s a process I think before the (United Nations) where you would gather signatures,” the elder Duterte said.

Meanwhile, former Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Adolfo Ascuna shot down the House-backed people’s initiative, saying there can be no charter amendment with only one chamber of Congress.

 In  a related development, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) warned Filipinos against “a so-called people’s initiative” to amend the constitution that is not truly initiated by ordinary citizens.

CBCP President and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David in a statement said the country’s bishops were alarmed about reports that the signatures gathered seeking to change several provisions in the constitution were not the result of careful study and discussion.

“It seems that this People’s Initiative was initiated by a few public servants and not truly from the initiative of ordinary citizens,” David said.

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