How gloria sold off Sara to Marcoses: Duterte responds


In hindsight, it is safe to say that Rodrigo Duterte had no prior knowledge of Gloria Arroyo's machinations to form a Sara-Bongbong tandem. As I narrated in a previous post, the harebrained plot was hatched behind his back and it blew up in everybody's faces.

The reason Gloria didn't tell Duterte is because she thought the harebrained plot she was a masterstroke and that she was doing him a favor.

She would simply deliver to him the grand bargain once it was a done deal - a compact that guaranteed him continued hold on the Palace through surrogates.

Rodrigo, however, does not like outsiders intervening in family matters - especially political directions the family may take.

He may be on his last legs as president but he still wants to have control over his succession. That meant only one: keeping the Philippines as the property of the Duterte family, to be passed on to the next generation. Exactly the same way he had treated Davao City.

He is fond of talking about "my police," "my army," "my government" - because that's what the Philippines has become, a province of Davao, which is in turn the kingdom of the Dutertes.

From the very start, he wanted Sara to succeed him, she being the least degenerate of his offspring. However, Sara tends to be headstrong unlike his sons whom he treats as his useful idiots.

She is the rebel that likes to go off the reservation. Just as Rodrigo himself was regarded by his own parents as prodigal, reprobate, misbegotten. Even when she was handed the mayoralty of Davao City as her training ground to national leadership, she tended to keep her own counsel, firing all of her father's appointees as soon as she took his seat.

Now, she came under the spell of Gloria Arroyo, her mentor, the well-intentioned former president who thought she could teach Sara the art of politics that is more refined than her father's unscrupulous methods, based on mass murder and deceit.

The first time they applied Gloria's tactics, they ousted Panty Alvarez as Speaker without breaking a sweat - then later Sara did it on her own by pulling the rug from under Cayetano, though it took a little more effort. Now, they were ready for the big time - winning the 2022 elections against a stellar cast of rivals.

Gloria thought she could pull off Duterte's feat in 2016 for Sara - minus his dirty tricks.

Sara liked what she heard. She had long chafed under her father's tutelage and she wanted to fight her own battles.

What was in it for Gloria playing the kingmaker? What else, the Speakership, which she helped steal from under Alvarez and Cayetano.

Gloria's strategy was simple enough. Broker an alliance with the Marcoses, thereby combining their Solid North with the Duterte strongholds in Mindanao and the Visayas to form an unbeatable tandem.

Gloria's mistake, however, was that she did not reckon with the insatiable greed of the Marcoses who were hellbent on retaking Malacañang; she simply assumed they would go on board the plan just as she hoped Rodrigo would grudgingly acquiesce to it, once they realized its brilliance.

It was like she was selling Sara as a beautiful and irresistible princess that Bongbong will simply fall for her.

Trusting Gloria, Sara made a series impulsive and irrevocable decisions: first, by withdrawing her candidacy as mayor of Davao City.

Gloria the kingmaker was holding court in Balesin Island, calling the shots (or so she thought) while stretched on a long chair and sipping buko from a coconut husk.

Alas, Bongbong Marcos was not enamored of Gloria's idea. He didn't come to Balesin Island when summoned, only to be played. He didn't want to play as the lesser partner of Sara in a marriage of convenience - the one willing to be bought off with a substantial dowry.

Matchmaker Gloria was shocked out of her delusions and started pacing the sand, realizing that she now had a big problem in her hands: if Bongbong didn't want to run under the skirt of Sara, where will it leave Sara who had already committed to the arrangement: she gave up Davao City for the promise of the whole of the Philippines?

They now had to resort to damage control.

At this point, they could have salvaged the situation by confessing their mistake to Duterte and asking him to use all his powers to undo the damage.

But they were now on a slippery slope that they could not crawl out of clutching at straws.

They committed mistake after mistake: next deciding they should succumb to Bongbong's conditions by agreeing to play second fiddle - i.e., Sara running as Bongbong's vice president in a reversal of roles. And accordingly Sara filed her CoC to the effect, whereupon Bongbong announced Sara to the public as his trophy wife.

When news reached the Palace, all hell broke loose. Duterte felt betrayed by his own daughter, and it takes a lot to stir him to action on a weekend. If he tolerated her shenanigans before, kicking out his own people from City Hall and two Speakers in a row in the House, no way would he have her cede his kingdom to the Marcoses, thereby losing "my police," "my army," "my government". Bongbong was his ally but no means successor.

Could he trust Bongbong to defend the family against all enemies, starting with the ICC? Of course not.

Within the hour of the shocking news on a Saturday afternoon, Duterte and his alter ego and Palace eunuch Bong Go were on their way to the Comelec to counter their move - i.e., having Bong Go run for president in Sara's stead.

Duterte took Sara's act as a betrayal and he virtually repudiated her as a daughter by announcing that he would run against her for the vice presidency.

What will happen now to Gloria Arroyo who is responsible for this mess? One, she has until Monday to undo all these missteps, to wit: ask Sara again to withdraw her candidacy for vice president, then run for president or mayor, as the case may be.Two, do nothing realizing that she could not unspill all that buko juice in the sand.

Duterte and Bong Go are convinced that only they can save the Philippines, the province of Davao City, from falling into the hands of the Marcoses, and with it "my police," "my military," "my kingdom come" on Earth as in heaven.

They have crossed the Rubicon in filing their CoCs and in a sense its water is thicker than blood as there is no turning back.

They can no longer trust Sara to fight the family's battle as she has come thoroughly under the spell of Gloria.

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