Former Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte’s son has urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to resign, calling him lazy and uncompassionate in a deepening rift between the two politically powerful families.
Marcos teamed up with Duterte’s daughter Sara to make her vice-president in their 2022 election win.
However, cracks in the families’ alliance have emerged as the incumbent has veered away from his predecessor’s anti-drugs and foreign policies.
Sebastian Duterte, who is mayor of Philippines’ third most populous city Davao, said that there had been a resurgence in crime after his father’s hardline campaign had been relaxed.
At a leadership forum, he also accused Marcos of endangering innocent Filipinos by allowing the Americans in, a reference to expanded US access to military bases, including several close to Taiwan.
The older Duterte had forged closer ties with China.
Sebastian Duterte also opposed Marcos’s decision to restart peace negotiations with communist rebels, saying that he did not know anything about the suffering of people living in areas that used to be rebel strongholds.
“You are lazy and you lack compassion. That’s why we are unhappy,” he said.
He spoke just before Marcos took the stage at a government-led rally in the capital to drum up support for his “Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines)” campaign, where he has promised to improve state services and budget transparency.
Marcos’s alliance with the Dutertes was crucial to his presidential victory, so a souring of their relations could have implications in his bid to solidify his support base ahead of the mid-term Senate and congressional election next year.
Sara Duterte, who is also education secretary, attended the president’s rally before flying to Davao to join her father and siblings at a prayer rally against moves to amend the Philippine constitution, which Marcos backs.
Some opponents of constitutional change, including the Dutertes, say that it is driven by an agenda to change the political system and remove term limits, including that of the president, who can currently serve just one six-year term.
“He is putting politics first, their self-preservation ... rather than focusing on the job,” Sebastian Duterte said. “Mr President, if you have no love and aspirations for the nation, resign.”
Like her brother, Sara Duterte has openly defied some of Marcos’s policies, including the peace talks with communist rebels which she said was an “agreement with the devil”.
There was no immediate comment from Marcos’s office or from the vice-president on Sebastian Duterte’s remarks.
At the Davao rally, the Duterte patriarch warned Marcos that “you may suffer your father’s fate” and called on the police and military to “protect the constitution”.
An ever-shifting coalition of powerful families has long ruled the Philippines, holding onto power for generations.
Left-wing political party Akbayan branded the rallies as a “dynastic war among ruling elites” that did not serve the interests of regular Filipinos.
Police estimated 400,000 people were at the Manila rally, many of them government workers, while more than 40,000 were at the Davao event.
“This would be the most public and deliberate way of letting the people know that the Unity Team is no more,” University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Franco told AFP.
In Manila, some members of the crowd told AFP that they believed in Marcos, although they said they knew next to nothing about the constitution controversy.
“If he runs again why not, for as long as he is doing a good job for the country,” Manila resident Dennis Ardea, 53, told AFP, adding: “The Dutertes belong to the past. We should go with another (leader).”