By Artchil B. Fernandez

A year and three months after winning the 2022 election, cracks in the UniTeam are becoming more and more pronounced. For the UniTeam to unravel in a short span of time is a remarkable development. Is the honeymoon among factions of “Cartel of Dynasties” over and UniTeam is now DisUniTeam?

Key players in the UniTeam can publicly claim that they remain united and supportive of each other and deny the “Cartel of Dynasties” is crumbling. Leaders of the cartel after all have not yet publicly criticized and attacked each other. They continue to project a semblance of unity through public display of niceties.

While top leaders of UniTeam pretend to be united, a quick visit to the digital world reveals a completely different scenario. A fierce war is raging among vloggers, TikTokers, trolls and keyboard warriors of the different factions of UniTeam. In social media at least, UniTeam is now DisUniTeam. It is only a matter of time this cyber war will eventually spill over to traditional and mainstream media.

Who are the fiercest critics of the current administration in the digital space? One immediately assumes the “dilawans” or the “pinklawans” who were the staunchest opponents of BongBong Marcos (BBM) and his family in the last election. Lo and behold, the harshest detractors of BBM and his administrations are Duterte vloggers.  Something is amiss here.

Keyboard warriors, vloggers, and TikTokers are crucial components of the Marcos-Duterte alliance in the 2022 elections. They are one of the major pillars in the unity of the tiger of the north and the eagle of the south. The digital world was saturated and polluted by misinformation, disinformation and outright lies pushed by these people. Today they are after each other’s throat depending on their allegiance – tiger or eagle.

There is polarization among digital mercenaries of the “mighty” UniTeam in social media.  In one camp are steadfast supporters of BBM and his administration while the other side is composed of Duterte fanatics and devotees. Tap Wan and Thinking Pinoy are leading the BBM adherents in defending his administration and exposing the hypocrisy of the other side.  The Duterte zealots on the other hand are led by Banat By and Maharlika who not only have cruel and unkind words to BBM and his administration but also attack the integrity and persons of the defenders.

From all indications, UniTeam is no more in the cyber world.  The brutal and nasty verbal war waged by digital mercenaries of the polarized Marcos and Duterte camps as they daily battle each other to promote their principals and slander the other side is a strong indicator UniTeam has become DisUniTeam.

On the surface and mainstream, the polarization of the UniTeam into two opposing camps is also becoming more and more evident notwithstanding pretensions of unity.  The opening salvo was fired last May with the removal of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) as Senior Deputy Speaker of the House.  GMA was suspected of plotting a coup against House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the first cousin of BBM.

Vice President Sara Duterte, an ally of GMA resigned from Lakas-NUCD which Romualdez heads as protest in the humiliation of her wily patron.  She also lambasted Romualdez and refused to even mention his name in public.  This is the start of the ongoing skirmish between the House Speaker and the Vice President.

Du30 belatedly entered the Duterte-Romualdez tiff stung by public anger on his daughter’s shocking misuse of her confidential funds.  The elder Duterte accused the House Speaker of harboring presidential ambitions and dared Romualdez to make public how his office uses public funds.  Speaker’s Office “has not been flagged by the Commission on Audit for any fund misuse” Romualdez responded stiffly. Knives are out.

Lately, non-verbal cues of both camps reveal the deepening polarization of the UniTeam into Team Tigre and Team Agila.  All is not well between them as shown by the body language and gestures of the major figures of the two camps.

After her removal as Senior Deputy Speaker, GMA is busy posting pictures in social media showing her meeting key political figures in the country.  She had a meeting with Du30 and former Senate President Tito Sotto.  GMA also shared a picture of her talking to former Vice President Leni Robredo.  This week, GMA (as well as Sara Duterte) paid a courtesy call on Iglesia ni Kristo (INK) executive minister Eduardo Manalo.  These are not innocent social activities of GMA.  She is building political alliances independent of the Marcos camp in preparation for the 2025 and 2028 elections.

The Marcos camp is equally busy in the past weeks.  BBM recently shared the stage with Mar Roxas during a visit to Roxas City revealing he and Roxas shared escapades in New York years ago.   Duterte militants are outraged and fuming mad.

In his last visits abroad, BBM no longer brings GMA, his “secret weapon” in his previous foreign trips.  Speaker Romualdez has taken over GMA’s place.

This week, the House also decided to take away the controversial P650 million confidential funds of Sara Duterte.  The House said this is in response to public outrage over these funds.  Since when did the House become sensitive to public opinion?

This is a fatal blow to Sara Duterte who lost a key source of funds.  Financially strangling her presidential aspiration is lethally crippling.  The trolls, keyboard warriors, TikTokers and vloggers may starve as consequence, unless China comes into rescue.

The unraveling of UniTeam is expected.  The “Cartel of Dynasties” was formed based purely on the selfish interests of key players.  Once these selfish interests clash, the basis of unity is gone.  In politics there are no permanent friends, only permanent interest.