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[OPINION] Marcos vs. Marcos: A study in Coup de Théâtre

By Joel Pablo Salud Published Jan 19, 2024 11:48 am

To be an idle spectator in the age of political theater is the most ill-advised thing next to root canal on honeymoon day. More so when something as succulent and racy as sibling rivalry gets the better of a Monday morning flag ceremony.  

But is it something to be disturbed about? Hardly if the Marcoses are involved. One could almost hear someone’s rich, bored bourgeois grandmother who lived through martial law say: “Oh dear, are the newspapers true? Imee and Bongbong are not getting along? How can that be? They were such nice kids growing up!”

“Nice” bears an etymology from Old French, lifted from Latin nescius. It’s interesting what one can find on the internet.  

But as the most misunderstood saying goes, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb.” Whatever agreement the Marcoses "inked" with the previous administration seems to carry more weight for Sen. Imee Marcos than whatever episode of Roadrunner the siblings shared while in their khakis.   

I mean, isn’t it obvious? The House of Representatives thumbed down Vice President Sara Duterte’s confidential funds. Could the tampuhan between Sen. Imee and House Speaker Martin Romualdez be the reason, with the latter taking the side of the President?  

The senator has voiced her strong disapproval of the International Criminal Court’s moves to investigate former President Rodrigo Duterte even as President Bongbong Marcos studies the country’s return to the ICC.   

Imee calls the Dutertes allies. As for Bongbong, his reticence on the matter surely has nothing to do with being shy.   

For this Coup de Théâtre, as I call it, there seems to be quite a cast of characters. There’s Imee Marcos as supporting actor, or better articulated as the Marcos family's "devil’s advocate"—always at odds with most decisions stemming from his brother in Malacanang or her relative from the lower House.   

At centerstage stands Bongbong with his “speak-no-evil” script—always trying to mine the positive even from their much-hated EDSA celebration each February. The toxic positivity of the President doesn’t seem to sit well with his sister-lawmaker, however. 

House Speaker Romualdez seems to fit the role of villain to a t. Mestizo, privileged, young and feisty, so unlike the politically "seasoned" siblings in many ways. As possible successor to the throne, can the Speaker hack it?  

One might easily surmise, however, that the ruckus is closer to that familial sort of conspiracy where everything is scripted. Backstage, they’re all friends and munching on croissants while trying to play a prank on the people. Whatever purpose they have could be more sinister than their shaggy-little-dog story, but proving that would be darn near impossible at this stage.   

But lest we forget, political theater is nothing new under a Marcos administration. His father, Ferdinand E. Marcos, had been known to play “roles”—the shirtless, ageless Superman, for one—to calm his supporters after news that he had lupus came out.   

As the most misunderstood saying goes, 'The blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb.' Whatever agreement the Marcoses 'inked' with the previous administration seems to carry more weight for Sen. Imee Marcos than whatever episode of 'Roadrunner' the siblings shared while in their khakis.  

Rumors of ouster and military adventurism recently hounded the Marcos Jr. regime with well-nigh the same creepy-crawly manner as his father. His defense chief swiftly said that rumors were all bogus. And with Taylor Swift now into the University of the Philippines’ elective list and Jo Koy getting not a well-deserved backhand online, there’s a good chance no one even got wind of the supposed coup plot.  

Now, what if the spat between these two siblings is turning into a real-life spitting contest? What’s the end game? Why all this push and pull? It’s biblical truth that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:25), so why go out of one’s way to parade it like laundry? 

Is this part of an elaborate plot to misdirect the people from an even bigger scenario, which is Charter change or Cha-cha? In the seventies, a well-directed political sibling rivalry would’ve been the best smokescreen for Charter change. But today? Unless you kiskis elbows with Taylor Swift, you’re pffft. 

Charter change isn’t new. From Fidel V. Ramos all the way to Rodrigo Duterte, Charter change has been that big pie in the sky. Doubts as to whether they would stick to economic provisions remains widespread. There is simply no compromising the guarantees on freedom of speech, expression, and right to life.  

All the more under a Marcos regime, if you know our history. 

The world quickly turns on its axis, and as such, things change. Should our national Charter be one of them? Are some provisions too old for these to continue in the 21st century?   

This much I am certain: The change we need is the change within.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of PhilSTAR L!fe, its parent company and affiliates, or its staff.