Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is getting paranoid. He is worried he will end up like his late father and namesake.

Some disgruntled soldiers supported by a few ambitious politicians staged a coup in 1986.

Loyal Marcos generals could have easily crushed the military adventure, but the late Cardinal Jaime Sin intervened and called for popular support for the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), which eventually prevailed.

A faction of RAM officers and some generals loyal to the ousted dictator Marcos later joined forces.

They tried to unseat Corazon Aquino until late 1990 but grew tired of plotting to seize power because Fidel Ramos had thwarted their attempts.

A prevalent issue among soldiers at that time against Cory was the peace negotiations with the Maoist-led rebels, whose strength grew to about 26,000 armed fighters just before Marcos was removed from office.

Now, some people opposed to the dictator’s son used the same issue of peace negotiations with the Communists to agitate soldiers to remove Marcos and replace him with a staunch, anti-communist vice president.

Sara Duterte-Carpio has found an issue against Marcos after she lost her confidential and intelligence funds, and her father’s increasing isolation, as the president continued to reverse the former leader’s policies, particularly the pro-China foreign policy and anti-illegal drug campaign.

Sara immediately registered her opposition to the peace talks after the successful back-channel talks in Oslo.

It did not help when Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., the Armed Forces chief of staff, told journalists the military shared the vice president’s sentiments.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, a retired army general, were also surprised by Malacañang’s announcement that peace talks with rebels were being restarted.

But they have to toe the line.

Marcos has to watch his back as the seeds of discontent in the military have been planted.



Even before the resumption of peace talks was announced, many soldiers were already up in arms after Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno proposed to mandate military and uniformed personnel to pay a certain percentage of their monthly pay as a contribution to a pension fund.

No law still requires mandatory contributions to a pension fund, but many military and police personnel have started thinking of retiring early to avail themselves of a higher pension.

The two issues — peace talks and pension fund — are a deadly combination that should make Marcos worry about his position — whether he could last until 2028 or end up ousted like his late father.

The threat was magnified by an emerging rivalry among Marcos’ allies — the vice president and his cousin, Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

To diminish the vice president’s chances in the 2028 elections, her rival started squeeze tactics to choke the Dutertes of political support.

Rodrigo Duterte still has influence and support from some military officers, a real and serious threat.

For instance, some Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class members had sworn allegiance to Duterte and his close ally, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, because they benefited from them when Duterte was in power.

An infuriated Duterte called up political allies after the Movie and Television Regulatory and Classification Board (MTRCB) issued an order suspending his program in SMNI, a religious broadcast network.

He wanted to get back at the people behind the suspension, whom he had blamed for pressuring the president to allow the ICC to investigate the brutal and bloody war on drugs campaign from 2016 to 2022.

The break in the Marcos-Duterte alliance began to show when the vice president openly criticized Marcos’ peace talks initiative.

She also voiced a loud pro-China statement when she kept silent on China’s harassment in two shoals in the West Philippine Sea.

Recently, she skipped an event when Marcos signed the 2024 budget into law, after lawmakers removed P650 million in confidential and intelligence funds from her allocations next year.

Sara’s body language and words have been increasingly hostile to the president.

At the same time, she has been moving around the country, alliances with local officials, and cultivating the loyalty of soldiers.

The father-and-daughter team has been emerging as a formidable force opposed to Marcos.
This should worry the president—a popular vice president supported by an equally influential and popular former leader.

Marcos should play his cards well to remain in power and avoid getting booted out like his late father.