The Marcos-Duterte Family Feud Is Heating Up in the Philippines

The Marcos-Duterte Family Feud Is Heating Up in the Philippines
Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gives a speech attacking his successor, President Fernando Marcos Jr., in Davao, Philippines, Jan. 28, 2024 (AP photo by Manman Dejeto).

Last month, the long-simmering feud between the Philippines’ two most powerful political families reached a boiling point. Even by his own standards, former President Rodrigo Duterte seemed particularly unhinged, calling his successor, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., “a drug addict” during a public rally in his home city of Davao in southern Philippines.

As if that weren’t enough, Duterte also warned of a popular revolt and even flirted with the idea of spearheading the secession of the southern island of Mindanao from the Philippines. Meanwhile, Duterte’s son, Sebastian, the current mayor of Davao, called on Marcos to “resign” from office.

The usually urbane and soft-spoken Marcos struck back by openly accusing Duterte himself of drug abuse. “I think it’s the Fentanyl,” he said. “It is highly addictive and it has very serious side effects, and [Duterte] has been taking the drug for a very long time now.” The uncharacteristic remark was a reference to Duterte’s admission almost a decade ago that he had abused the powerful painkiller, an admission he later claimed had been a joke.

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