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ROUGH CUTS | The disintegrating UniTeam

Now the sounds of the war drums beaten are starting to get louder and clearer.

No, not the American Indians starting their ambushes on American soldiers of old. We mean the drums of an emerging political “war” between the principal personalities in the so-called UniTeam that is running the country today.

Yes, we mean the united team of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte. The crack which has been carefully patched to keep it hidden from the public is now showing with clarity. Well, as they say, “when there is smoke there is fire.” And the fire is now morphing into an “infierno” that is stoked by some from the sides affiliated with one of the two major parties to the UniTeam.

The Vice President, reacting to the decision of the President to declare amnesty to some communist rebels and of the joint declaration of the National Democratic Front (NDF) based in Oslo, Norway and the Government of the Philippines regarding the resumption of the peace talks, was dubbed as “the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Simply interpreted, there were previous disagreements between the President and the VP on certain government policies; that these divergence of views were just “fixed” to preserve the shaky unity of the key players in the supposed united administration team.

All the time we were aware that the previous maneuverings in the House of Representatives attributed to have been under the direction of Speaker Martin Romualdez, a Presidential cousin, were all the sounds of the war drums intended to disturb the Vice President. First there was the ousting of VP Sara’s close ally in the House former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the senior deputy speaker. Then another VP Sara’s House backer Deputy Speaker Isidro Ungab was kicked out from his position. Next were the talks of impeaching the Vice President by the House. Soon after, the House passed a resolution urging the government to allow the International Criminal Court (ICC) probers to investigate the former President and the VP’s father’s alleged “bloody anti-illegal drugs war”.

What else can these series of maneuvers all aimed at the Vice President be called but the slow and sure subtle moves to oust the VP from the erstwhile united administration and isolate her to give way to the ambition of certain personalities in one major faction of the team.

And no matter how the President tried to cushion the impact of what those who are closely allied with him in the UniTeam by saying there is no disintegration but only further strengthening, his recent moves say otherwise.

Now VP Sara, in her official statement in reaction to the reopening of the peace talk with the rebels, says she was not consulted on the matter despite her being the Vice Chair of the NTF-LCAC or the National Task Force to End Local Communist Activities

She calls the decision to reopen the peace talk as an “agreement with the devil.” The VP cited in her call to the President to reconsider his decision, the government’s experience during the peace talks initiated by his father’s administration. She said the leaders of the NDF-Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP) were not sincere in their desire to end the rebellion. She mentioned incidents that while the negotiations were held during her father’s term the rebels were busy ambushing policemen and military convoys.

So far, it is this statement on the VP’s difference of opinion with the President that is most scathing and indicative of how deep is the chasm that is now dividing the two main personalities in the UniTeam. And while it is not the side of VP Sara that is initially beating the “war drums” to let out the sounds of the political battle, the VP’s reaction on the latest move on the President’s side appears to be declaring that she’s got what it takes to fight the “war” that will be waged against her openly or covertly.

The people are definitely expecting the President’s side on the VP’s “deal with the devil” pronouncement. And whether or not the President will make amends with his teammate, it is already clear that any time soon, the political “war” is bound to happen and fought with intensity to the detriment of the nation.


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