In the Philippines, Marcos and Duterte’s Alliance Revives Old Worries

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Several analysts point to Ms. Duterte’s separate inauguration ceremony and Mr. Marcos’s decision to also appoint her education secretary — instead of defense, as she had requested — as a sign of brewing tension. Ms. Duterte told a Times reporter that she was not disappointed with the job Mr. Marcos gave her, saying “the defense portfolio was a discussion we had before we became a tandem.”

Straight talking and charismatic, the 44-year-old mother of three is beloved among many Filipinos. Before she expressed any interest in running in the presidential election, hundreds of “Run, Sara, Run” groups had formed throughout the country. She clinched the vice-presidential election with the largest majority since 1969, garnering 32 million votes, exceeding the 31 million votes earned by Mr. Marcos. As an army reserve colonel, she almost certainly has the loyalty of the military.

Leni Hernandez, Ms. Duterte’s high school teacher, described her as “headstrong.” “That’s one thing I’m sure that she’ll carry as vice president,” she said. “You cannot dominate her.”

At times, Ms. Duterte has even defied her father. When he was president, she branched out to form her own regional political party, with many senior politicians flying to Davao to gain her support. When her father asked her to endorse his right-hand man for president in the election, she rebuffed him.

Ramon Beleno III, a political science professor at the Ateneo De Davao, said Mr. Marcos’s decision to deny Ms. Duterte the defense portfolio suggested that he was concerned about giving her a more crucial role. “Then she might end up overshadowing him,” he said.

Experts say Ms. Duterte could position herself as a strong candidate for the presidency in 2028, when Mr. Marcos’s term ends. In her first 100 days in office, she has established satellite offices in key cities across the Philippines, the first for a vice president. She has met more than a dozen diplomats, including China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.


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