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First Lady Liza chides VP Sara, President downplays rift

By Jennifer T. Santos

MANILA – First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos threw a potshot at Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte in a tell-all interview, surprising administration supporters but President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. immediately downplayed the rift before it widens further.

In a rare interview on April 19 with broadcaster Anthony Taberna, the First Lady, who is a lawyer, admitted that she was no longer on good terms with Duterte after the latter attended a rally in Davao City where her husband, the President, was heavily criticized and tagged as “bangag” or drug user. (See related story)

Saying Sara was “bad shot” to her, Araneta-Marcos also admitted snubbing the Vice President during the President’s departure ceremony to Vietnam in January. The incident was caught on video, which circulated on social media.

In an ambush interview in Occidental Mindoro, Marcos brushed aside suggestions to remove Duterte from his Cabinet.

“Any of the Cabinet secretaries will be replaced kapag hindi nila ginagawa ang trabaho nila. All the other things are not part of the discussion. Kapag hindi na kaya, nagkasakit, sabihin mo lang, papalitan ka namin. Kapag hindi talaga marunong o korap, tatanggalin ka talaga namin. Hindi naman ganoon si Inday,” he said.

The interview with Taberna saw the First Lady lambast Sara for supposedly laughing when his father – former president Rodrigo Duterte – accused Marcos of being “bangag” or under the influence during a rally against charter change in Davao City in January.

It is unclear if Sara indeed laughed at the joke, Rappler reported, as video feeds of the event didn’t cut to her reaction during the controversial moment, but she came out with a video statement on Monday, April 23, saying that the First Lady’s “personal feelings have nothing to do with my mandate as a government official.”

Marcos claimed there is no need to patch things up, believing that the country’s second-in-command understands where his wife is coming from.

Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar said if she were in the First Lady’s shoes, she would do everything to ensure the success of the President, except to quarrel.

“Ako, kung ako ang asawa ng Presidente, I will do everything, para maging successful yung aking asawa. Hindi na ako makikipag-away,” Senator Villar said.

“Huwag na mag-away. Gumawa na lang ng mga projects na makakatulong sa tao para mahalin ng mga tao lalo yung ating Presidente (Let’s not fight. Just work on projects that will help the people love the President more,” Villar said.

Sen. Francis Escudero, for his part, said he sympathize with the President who he said was in a delicate situation.

Marcos claimed there is no need to patch things up between the First Lady and the Vice President, believing that the country’s second-in-command understands where his wife is coming from.

“I think that she also understands how the First Lady feels, when you have to sit there and listen to these attacks that are being made against your husband,” Marcos said.

But mag-uusap kami ni VP Sara tungkol diyan. Huwag niya masyadong dibdibin, hindi naman siya ang mga nagsabi tungkol sa kung anu-ano. Madali naman sigurong plantsahin lahat ng naging isyu (VP Sara and I will talk about that. She shouldn’t let it get to her, since she was not the one who said bad stuff about me. All these issues can easily be ironed out.),” Marcos added.

 Marcos also said he is a lucky husband for having a protective wife who always comes to his defense, but offered an explanation on why Liza reacted that way.

“Ang First Lady, hindi sanay sa pulitika ‘yan e. Kami, manhid na kami diyan, sa insulto. Siya, hindi siya galing sa political family, kaya siguro she still has to learn, magpalagpas nang kaunti ng ibang masasakit at maaanghang na salita (The First Lady is not used to politics. We have been numb to insults, while she still has to learn to ignore the hurtful accusations because she did not come from a political family.),” Marcos said.

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