Good cop, bad cop

By Artchil B. Fernandez

First couple is playing an amusing national charade. This is a new source of entertainment to the public but it is doubtful if the recipients of the game are tickled.

The nation got a rare glimpse of the psyche and personality of the controversial wife of Bongbong Marcos (BBM), Liza Araneta Marcos (LAM) through an interview by vlogger Anthony Taberna. The full interview can be accessed at the YouTube of the vlogger.

Provocative interview of LAM is the latest installment in the current national teleserye gripping the country, the Cocaine – Fentanyl War between erstwhile allies in the now defunct UniTeam. The fight between Team Agila and Team Tigre has leveled-up, bringing out in the open the simmering war raging in cyberspace. “Bring it on!” the fierce lady dared the other side.

A feisty and fighting wife emerged in the controversial interview. What caught public attention is the portion of the interview concerning the Dutertes in general and Vice President Sara Duterte in particular. LAM did not mince words and had a hot and spicy message to Team Agila.

LAM is especially sore at Inday Sara and she did not hide her anger and displeasure.  “Bad shot sa akin yan (I already have a bone to pick with her),” she blurted out in the interview.  The source of her irritation is the accusation of Du30 during a peace rally in Davao City that BBM is a drug user.  LAM claimed she saw Inday Sara laugh as her father lambasted BBM as a cocaine addict.

She did the unforgivable LAM declared when Inday Sara seemingly enjoyed her father’s banter against BBM. “Imagine a former President calling him bangag (stoned)? Why would you call him that, right? And then the camera panned to her, she was laughing,” an annoyed LAM exclaimed. “She laughed. For me, that’s wrong. You’re getting your salary from the government. You’re supposed to be the alter ego. We’re there protecting you. Then you do that? That’s wrong. You crossed the line.”

Twisting the knife, LAM added “Even Leni never did that!” referring to former vice president Leni Robredo who was BBM’s fiercest rival in the last election.  That dig was meant to provoke the Dutertes and their fanatics who had a deep hatred of Robredo and the pinklawans (her supporters).

Reconciliation with the other side for now seems remote ruled LAM when asked.  “No. I mean, for me, I was hurt. Because my husband will do everything to protect you. You ran together, remember? We were supposed to rise up together. You went to a rally where your President was called a stoned President, you’re going to laugh? Is that the right thing to do?”

On cue allies of BBM and LAM renewed their attack on Inday Sara. Manila Third District Rep. Joel Chua called for accountability on the part of Vice President Sara Duterte and her family. He called for her resignation from the cabinet. “The Vice President should show some decency by resigning from her DepEd post at the very least. Her family unleashed a barrage of insults and attacks directly to the President and yet she does nothing and is still enjoying the perks of being part of the official family,” his statement read. “She cannot have the best of both worlds by being a fence sitter while her family and their allies challenge the authority and mandate” of BBM he asserted.

While LAM unleashed a fierce attack on Inday Sara, her husband BBM on the other hand appears conciliatory and protective of the vice president. First BBM defended Inday Sara’s deafening silence on China’s attacks on Philippine civilian supply boats to Ayungin Shoal.  BBM also refused to fire her from the cabinet despite the acidic and acerbic words of his wife against her.

“I don’t see the reason behind that [replacement],” BBM declared when asked about the issue of Inday Sara’s stay in the cabinet. He also brushed aside his wife tirades against his vice president and excused them. “It will not affect our working relationship with the Vice President, Secretary of Education. I think that she also understands [as a wife] how the First Lady feels, when you have to sit there and listen to these attacks that are being made against your husband,” he added.

It is quite clear the husband and wife, BBM and LAM are playing good cop, bad cop.  LAM is the bad cop, on the offensive against their political and personal enemies.  BBM plays the good cop – nice, conciliatory, and cool. But can they convince the public of their charade? Is there anyone buying this cheap gimmickry of the first couple?

It is hard to believe LAM did her interview with a vlogger without the knowledge and tacit approval of BBM.  Both knew the political implications of the interview. LAM just threw down the gauntlet and appears to have burned bridges with the Dutertes. Her words are harsh, unkind, and hurtful.  She made an open declaration of war.

More likely the interview was a calculated move of Team Tigre.  LAM welding the stick while BBM waving the carrot. It was done for Team Tigre to regain the upper hand in the Cocaine-Fentanyl War. Team Agila until of late had the edge, dictating the tone of discourse.  The macho Dutertes in several rallies are on the offensive, attacking openly BBM. Team Tigre cannot stand by and act fine while Team Agila is doing all the wreaking.  Team Tigre has to seize the initiative, hence the LAM interview.

LAM interview signals the fight between the two camps has entered a new stage with the 2025 election around the corner.  It was an opening salvo in the next level of the conflict.  BBM and LAM playing good cop, bad cop is designed to shield BBM while allowing LAM to inflict the harm.  Definitely the Dutertes are not buying the farce.

How Team Agila and the Dutertes respond is interesting to see.


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