Infighting within Duterte administration getting worse: analyst

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2016 05:02 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2016 12:25 PM

Infighting within the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is getting worse as "irreconcilable differences" take shape, a political analyst said Wednesday.

"They cannot yet be called cracks but irreconcilable differences are already existing. The Marcos burial is one, but the one that's coming in is worse," Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms Director Ramon Casiple said in an interview with ANC's Dateline Philippines.

"This is the feeling of the PDP-Laban that it's not being treated as the ruling party even if some of them are there in the Kilusang Pagbabago (KP), but the whole project is basically contained within those who are closest to the president," he added.

The KP was launched early in Duterte's rule with the vision to establish a unit in each of barangay that will be the vehicle in delivering government services to the ground.

Casiple noted, however, that there is "growing suspicion" within the PDP-Laban that the KP is actually a "pre-party formation," just waiting in the wing to replace them. 

"They have appointees who are now under siege," he said.

He added that Martin Diño, a prominent PDP-Laban leader and was once the party's presidential candidate before giving way to Durerte, was set to be the administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), "but the post was taken away from him."

Casiple said he cannot yet suppose PDP-Laban was taken for a ride, but "it's really a question of the infighting within the Duterte administration...getting worse."

He explained, like other presidents, Duterte has around him people who "represent certain vested interests or specific historical alliances."

In Duterte's inner circle too are people who were with him from the start of his political career--like Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco, and National Irrigation Authority (NIA) administrator Peter Laviña--and friends outside the political arena--like former dorm mates Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay.

Casiple believes, however, that Duterte makes decisions by himself but these stakeholders battle for a chance to be heard.

"With regards his political decisions, I think he's alone by himself and that gives room for all these groups, including PDP-Laban for that matter, to maneuver, fight each other for whatever interest they have," he said.

"The snake pit is not in Malacañang, it's a wider [field]," he added.