Is silence golden? | Inquirer Opinion
Kris-Crossing Mindanao

Is silence golden?

In the current word war between the Dutertes and the Marcoses, the center of tirades, President Marcos, has chosen to rise above the fray by not saying anything in public. Strong adversarial comments and even personal insults from the Duterte camp have been hurled at Mr. Marcos ever since that huge pro-Quiboloy rally in Davao City. Instead, it was his feisty First Lady who had taken the cudgels for him, including a visually transparent snobbish treatment given to Vice President Sara Duterte.

The tirades are coming directly from the Duterte patriarch, former president Rodrigo Duterte, who first started his verbal assaults on Mr. Marcos last year, and these became the gist of his speech at that controversial Davao rally. Duterte’s digs at Mr. Marcos focus more on the latter’s personal traits or behavior rather than on his political pronouncements, highlighting the former’s tough-talking demeanor that has largely made him a favorite of the masses that he has always professed to be working for.

Word wars among politicians are not surprising, they add “color” to this country’s electoral campaigns. Mudslinging among them is always expected, with each political group or family exposing the muck that politicians are often associated with, as individuals are always in search of more power and money to feed their insatiable greed. Mudslinging is a national pastime for most politicians and only those who are faint of heart avoid joining since they cancel themselves out when the going gets rough and can’t tolerate the pressure of being the center of controversies.

Surprisingly, Mr. Marcos has decided to take it “easy” and just continued with his usual activities of traveling here and there, or visiting localities and distributing “ayuda” to farmers and the impoverished populations in different parts of the country. He has chosen to be silent.


But is Mr. Marcos’ silence getting him the approval from among the voting population and ordinary Filipinos in general?

Nobody knows what Mr. Marcos thinks when he hears all the tirades being delivered in the usual Duterte bombastic style. But some pundits believe that the President has, through his silence in not confronting these insults directly, inadvertently caused his own slow dip toward unpopularity, and probably to a bleak future of his family’s longevity in national politics.

One of such pundits is political analyst Ronald Llamas. He thinks that Mr. Marcos should have addressed Duterte’s insulting digs at him head-on, that he should have come up with an alternative narrative to fight back against such insults. Llamas also thinks that because Mr. Marcos is on the defensive, he is not getting the upper hand in this game and that the longer he takes such a stance in addressing Duterte’s offensive attacks, the lesser he is able to successfully mount a counter-offensive strategy that will assert his supremacy. After all, as the President, he is the most powerful person in this country. Or is he?

Llamas suggests that Mr. Marcos should have taken the same route that Duterte himself took when he was under attack (not vociferously as he himself has done against Mr. Marcos) by some members of his Cabinet: he removed them or clipped their wings by isolating or depriving them of their powers. Llamas also laments that Mr. Marcos does not have solid support from his own Cabinet, and they have not formed a group to launch a counter-narrative addressing Duterte’s tirades against him.


Being silent in the face of wide and loud criticisms against your person and the way you lead may not yield a positive outcome, especially among politicians at the level of the Dutertes and the Marcoses. Both families have risen to where they are now through a combination of altering narratives, convincing the Philippine voting population of their images as the rulers who can create a “better” country.

Duterte prided himself for the draconian policies in his anti-drug war and using tough street talk when dealing with those who violated his policies. His anti-drug war was legendary over the number of people killed all because they were considered targets of “Operation Tokhang,” his way of making the country “safe” from the drug menace.


Silence is golden in the illegal drug trade, as those who engage in it need to be silent and not squeal any information that can incriminate their highly placed drug bosses.

But is Mr. Marcos’ silence earning him some brownie points to achieve wider popularity for his family and his relatives and enable them to continue with their position in the national hierarchy?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Comments to [email protected]

TAGS: Kris-Crossing Mindanao, opinion

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.