By Artchil B. Fernandez
DDS now stands for Domagoso Diehard Supporters declared presidential bet Isko Moreno. “Recently, the DDS have started supporting us,” Moreno noted in a recent press conference. “That’s why we have a running joke during our conversation that DDS now stands for Domagoso Diehard Supporters,” he added. Is this the rebranded DDS, the new DDS or DDS 2.0?
DDS originally stands for Duterte Diehard Supporters who fanatically backed the president in the 2016 election. They are also the most rabid defenders of Du30, come hell or high water.
With the scuttling of his plans in the 2022 election, Du30 is left with no official candidates for the top posts in the coming election. This situation made his DDS orphans in the coming election, scattered sheep with no shepherd. So far, Du30 has not endorsed any candidate for president and vice president.
One interesting development in the current election season is the direction taken by many of Du30’s hardcore supporters. With the decision of presidential daughter Sara Duterte to become Bongbong Marcos’ acolyte, it was expected that the DDS will back the duo. This is the reason the camp of Bongbong Marcos in connivance with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) worked hard to torpedo Du30’s scheme to field his daughter for president and convince her to slide to the vice presidency. The plan is to unite the Marcos and Duterte camps.
It appears things did not work according to the plan of Bongbong Marcos and GMA. The outcome they expected did not materialize.
Many DDS have rebranded themselves into DDS 2.0, replacing Duterte with Domagoso, Isko Moreno’s real family name. Officers and members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) recently issued a manifesto supporting Isko Moreno. The group vowed to campaign hard for Moreno. An elated Lito Banayo, Moreno’s chief campaign strategist exclaimed that MRRD-NECC are the “original supporters of President Duterte” and “spearheaded the journey of then-Mayor Duterte. And they have shown their loyalty to President Duterte, which we hope in the next six years will be loyal to both President Duterte and the next president of the Philippines, which is Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso,” Banayo said.
Aside from MRRD-NECC, prominent Du30 supporters like actress Vivian Velez and local politicians who used to support Bong Go are also going over to Moreno’s camp like Mayor Dennis Hernandez of Rodriguez, Rizal and House Deputy Speaker Pablo John Garcia.
More telling is the behavior of many solid Du30 vloggers like Banat By. He is not only openly supporting Isko Moreno and Sara Duterte, but Banat By is also viciously attacking Bongbong Marcos. His harsh comments against Bongbong Marcos drew angry reactions from the Marcos loyalists.
Even more alarming to the Marcos camp is the snowballing ISSA or the Isko-Sara movement. This is spearheaded by Maguindanao Congressman Toto Mangudadato with the tacit backing of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the political party of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Moreno’s running mate, Willie Ong was discouraged not to join him in his recent Mindanao campaign due to the strong push of ISSA in the region.
ISSA placed the UnitTeam of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte in a very awkward and embarrassing situation. As the movement gains ground, especially among the rebranded DDS, where will this leave Bongbong Marcos? Not only ISSA will gnaw his votes in Mindanao and in many strongholds of DDS across the country, but it greatly undermines the unity call of Uniteam. If DDS 2.0 will not vote for Bongbong Marcos why would his loyalists support Sara Duterte? A Bongbong Marcos-Tito Sotto counter-movement is already being whispered in the Marcos camp.
DDS 2.0 is a real threat to the UniTeam of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte. Aside from failing to bring many DDS to the Marcos camp DDS 2.0 can or is already driving a wedge between the Marcos and Duterte camps undermining their main them which is unity. By promoting ISSA, DDS 2.0 sows distrust within the UniTeam and between the diehard supporters of its presidential and vice-presidential bets. If the distrust takes root and deepens, this could spell trouble to the UnitTeam.
The DDS 2.0 development indicates that the votes of Bongbong Marcos and Isko Moreno overlap. With the overlapping of their votes, Isko Moreno is likely to eat up Bongbong Marcos’ votes once ISSA gains ground. This will be problematic to Marcos’ candidacy. It is possible Isko Moreno can pull down Bongbong Marcos’ poll numbers. If this scenario is confirmed by the next surveys, this is worrisome to the camp of Bongbong Marcos.
The emergence of DDS 2.0 is raining on the parade of the Axis of Evil. Bongbong Marcos and GMA thought they had a perfect plan when they successfully lured Sara Duterte to their side and made her do their bidding. They calculated having her will unite the DDS and the Marcos camps thus forming a formidable political force.
But their best-laid plan has gone awry with the appearance of DDS 2.0. There is a view that Bongbong Marcos’ high poll number is driven by Sara Duterte. If ISSA gains ground, there could be a major shift in the political landscape.