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The Dutertes’ sense of entitlement

The Dutertes think that the rules don't apply to them, and they protest, using vulgar language, at any instance they are criticized or made to account.

Apr 22, 2024

Tita C. Valderama


4-minute read

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Entitled politics. That’s a phrase First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos used in describing the behavior of Vice President Sara Duterte toward President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

“When [Sara] went to Davao, [former president Rodrigo] Duterte said, ‘bangag, bangag.’ Imagine a former president calling [my husband] bangag. Ano ‘yun? Wow!… And then the camera panned to [Sara], tumatawa. So, s’yempre nakita ko, sabi ko, ‘Wow, man! Masakit ‘yan … That’s not right. You don’t do that. That’s entitled politics. You’re in the government; you’re the vice president,” the first lady said in an interview with broadcaster Anthony Taberna for his vlog.

Whether the VP laughed or grinned at her father’s tirade about Marcos’ alleged use of illegal drugs may be of little consequence to some people, it probably got on the nerves of the first lady because it has been passed on repeatedly, making many people believe it to be true.

Vloggers associated with the Dutertes have recently shown a piece of paper supposedly bearing the name “Bongbong Marcos @ Bonget” as a potential target of an operation by intelligence operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Makati City in March 2012.

The PDEA “pre-operation report” was apparently what the former president was referring to in the Jan. 28 prayer rally in Davao City when he claimed: “Noong ako po ay mayor, pinakitaan ako ng evidence ng PDEA. Doon sa listahan, nandoon pangalan mo [Marcos].”

PDEA is the lead anti-drug enforcement agency under the Office of the President.

In the same prayer rally, Duterte said: “Si Bongbong? Bangag ‘yan. That’s why sinasabi ko na sa inyo ngayon, si Bongbong Marcos, bangag noon. Ngayong presidente na, bangag ang ating presidente.”

Perhaps the first lady has already gotten used to the former president’s “dirty mouth.” What annoyed her was the vice president’s reaction to the description of her husband as “bangag.”

The president tried to dismiss Duterte’s statements, saying: “I think it’s the Fentanyl. Fentanyl is the strongest painkiller that you can buy. It is highly addictive, and it has very serious side effects. And PRRD has been taking the drug for a very long time now. When was the last time he told us he was taking Fentanyl, five or six years ago? Something like that. After five or six years, it has to affect him. Kaya palagay ko nagkakaganyan (That’s why he’s like that).”

In Nov. 2021, a few months before the official campaign period for the 2022 national elections, then-president Duterte already said that a presidential candidate was using cocaine, but he did not mention names.

Late last year, rumors swirled that Marcos was captured on video taking cocaine, playfully dubbed as “polvoron.” Duterte initially refuted this claim in a press conference on Jan. 7, when he asserted that if such a video existed, it would have already been widely circulated.

And in a press conference on Feb. 27, Duterte somersaulted on his previous statements: “Wala akong sinabi na gano’n. […] Even if you kill me a thousand times, wala akong sinabi. Make it, taking a drug. Pero kung sabihin mong ‘adik,’ wala akong sinabi na gano’n. Patayin ako ni Marcos n’yan.

Last April 12, Duterte was asked if Marcos was “still in his right mind” as he keeps ignoring the clamor for him to take a drug test. The former president said: “Alam mo ma’am, ako na ang unang nagsabi na drug addict siya. Hindi naman ako nag-iimbento ng istorya. Pero ‘yang mga PDEA report nila na sinasabi nila na hindi totoo, natural ‘yan ma’am kasi panahon ni Marcos. Anong agency in government can go head-to-head with the President sa bagay na ‘yan? So sinu-suppress ‘yan.”

In the Jan. 28 Davao City rally, Mayor Sebastian “Baste’ Duterte called for Marcos’ resignation, saying he was lazy and lacked compassion.

The Dutertes — the former president, the vice president, the congressman and the mayor — as well as their allies, with crowd support from the Kingdom of Jesus Christ of beleaguered Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, have been capitalizing on Marcos’ alleged drug use to dramatize their protestations over problems they are embroiled in, such as Rodrigo and Sara’s alleged involvement in the bloody drug war case in the International Criminal Court and the removal of Sara’s P650-million confidential funds as well as Paolo’s multibillion-peso allocation for his district, which accumulated to P51 billion in the last three years that his father was president.

The Dutertes have a strong sense of entitlement, making them think that the rules don’t apply to them, and they protest at any instance when they are criticized or made to account. They try to avoid accountability by using vulgar language against anybody they perceive as not on their side.


The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VERA Files.
This column also appeared in The Manila Times.

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