From Controversy to Hero: How Duterte’s Missteps Might Set Up Marcos for Redemption


You might wonder why another political analysis would matter, especially from someone like me—an unknown kitchen table philosopher. But bear with me. What if the chaotic regime of Rodrigo Duterte inadvertently set the stage for his successor, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., to look good? It’s a wild ride through Philippine politics, but let’s dive in. Keep an open mind, particularly if you’re a Marcos fan. This isn’t about taking sides; it’s about acknowledging some messy truths.

Controversy marked Rodrigo Duterte's term. Remember the headlines about his brutal anti-drug campaigns? They left thousands dead and drew international outrage at their blatant disregard for human rights. The guy's style was a mix of populism and authoritarianism, painting a grim picture for human rights in the Philippines. International bodies has widely criticized Duterte's approach, including the UN, which repeatedly flagged human rights violations under his rule.

Enter Bongbong Marcos, carrying a legacy of corruption and authoritarianism, thanks to his dad. He steps into power amid global skepticism. The expectations? Pretty low, given the family history and Duterte’s preceding chaos.

Here’s where it gets spicy. Marcos's political arena looks a bit like a family reunion. His cousin, Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, is the Speaker of the House; his sister, Imee Marcos, is a senator; and his son, Sandro Marcos, is a congressional representative. Critics often point to this setup as a classic case of nepotism, which might make you wonder about the fairness and integrity of his administration.

Marcos seems to distance himself from the past. He’s started some reforms, supposedly to tackle the issues left by Duterte. He’s talking about fixing foreign relations and overhauling the police force. While it’s still early days, these steps are essential for improving the Philippines' image both at home and abroad.

Now, let’s talk about the recent uproar over Duterte’s "gentleman's agreement" with China. Marcos said he's willing to do the homework on behalf of Duterte, particularly about the West Philippine Sea and the BRP Sierra Madre—an old ship grounded there as a sort of makeshift base. Duterte's vague deals had everyone raising eyebrows, wondering if he compromised Philippine sovereignty.

Additionally, Marcos’ approval ratings have shown significant fluctuations as he tries to push through controversial changes to economic policies in the constitution. His recent decisions have polarized public opinion, reflecting the precarious nature of his political standing.

Here’s the deal: Marcos has a chance to turn things around. By cleaning up Duterte’s mess, especially with the international issues and the drug war fallout, he could position himself as the guy who got things back on track. It’s an opportunity to reshape how the public and the world view him.

As we watch Marcos navigate these tricky waters, it’s clear that Duterte’s controversial tenure might actually give Marcos a leg up—if he plays his cards right. But it’s a big if. Can Marcos really redefine his image, or will he be another footnote in the troubled political history of the Philippines? Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure—it’s going to be interesting to watch.

Acknowledgement: Photo borrowed from The Manila Standard

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