Loida Nicolas Lewis's call for Duterte to resign may trigger seismic political movements in the Philippines

The call of Loida Nicolas Lewis for President Duterte to resign and step down from the Presidency effectively signals the start of hostilities between the Dutertetards and the Yellowtards. Let's speculate on what may be the outcomes given several scenarios.

What position will the Left take? Will they join forces with the Yellowtards and break off from the peace talks which has only progressed this rapidly under Duterte? Or will they accept Duterte's uncompromising stand on the Marcos burial and go on to forge a peace agreement for the first time in forty-eight years?

The AFP and the PNP. Both institutions have officers occupying sensitive positions who are graduates of the Philippine Military Academy. If the Yellowtards forge an alliance with the left, how can the Rightists in the AFP and PNP reconcile  themselves with ousting a President who's sympathetic to the Leftists by joining an oust-Duterte movement which counts the same Leftists as their allies? The only way the disgruntled officers would join an ouster plot is if they are guaranteed that an all-out drive against the Left will be mounted once a new government is in power. SND Delfin Lorenzana holds considerable clout in the AFP having a reputation as a soldier's soldier. PNP Chief Ronald De La Rosa jumped over the heads of his upperclassmen at the Academy. The military and law enforcement arms of the government are notorious for political patronage as one of the criteria for promotion.

Yesterday, the President appointed Gen. Eduardo Año as the replacement of Gen. Ricardo Visaya who retired as AFP Chief of Staff. Año's appointment is being contested by the Left for his involvement in the disappearance of Jonas Burgos ten years ago. Año is an intelligence specialist and is also a graduate of the US Army's Ranger course at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Duterte has offered the post of SND to the just retired Gen. Visaya as there is talk that Delfin Lorenzana will be appointed the Philippine Ambassador to the US.

Thus, it's unlikely that any attempt to oust Duterte would gain ground in the AFP. There may be some grumblings among the ranks of junior officers but Duterte has placed key retired officers in sensitive posts such as Gen. Manny Bautista who is an Undersecretary at the Office of the President.

The oligarchs. It can't be said that there are definitive lines drawn between the anti and pro-Duterte camps. These are businessmen and they don't adhere to ideologies or personal loyalties in general. Their first priority is to protect their interests. There are some oligarchs who are highly partisan against and highly in favor of Duterte. Even for these groups, the stakes are high since a failure to oust Duterte once the plot has been set in place would leave the anti-Duterte oligarchs with hell to pay. They'd be looking at criminal prosecution. But there are some, such as Loida Nicolas Lewis, who have been financing the propaganda on traditional and social media in an attempt for the people to withdraw their support from Duterte. This is evident with Robredo being glorified while Duterte is being vilified.

Robredo's resignation from her Cabinet post is a huge political gamble on her part. The groups supporting her had lobbied hard for her to be given a Cabinet post. Yet, her lackadaisical performance combined with the same groups now behind the opposition to the Duterte administration increases the negative public perception of her as it's obvious that she has failed to deliver and at least even equal the performance of her peers in the Cabinet.

Her Liberal partymates aren't exactly known for their loyalty. There have been calls for the Liberals to break off their critical collaboration with the PDP-Laban but even her former Campaign Manager, Sen. Bam Aquino, has indicated the seven Liberal Senators will continue to be part of the majority in the upper house.

The acting party President, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, hasn't called for a party caucus since his designation. Robredo herself declined the post of President after the elections saying she is incapable of running a political party. This is again a glaring admission of her lack of leadership skills. If she can't run a political party, what more be a housing czarina in charge of all government agencies which are involved in providing shelter for the underprivileged?

Robredo may become politically irrelevant even before the 2019 midterm elections. Her indecision puts her right smack in the middle of neither being there nor here in the political firmament. Should the shift to a federal system begin as scheduled on 2020, Robredo may well find herself back in Naga, either as Mayor or whatever regional elective post she may run for under the new form of government.

RG San Luis as posted on Facebook.


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