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Ex-Philippines president Duterte's senate election bid poses threat to former ally Marcos

MANILA — The Philippines' dominant Marcos and Duterte political dynasties, uneasy allies for two years, are gearing up for an election showdown that could upset policy stability in the South-east Asian nation in the coming years.

Vice-President Sara Duterte's resignation as education minister in President Ferdinand Marcos Jr's Cabinet was followed on June 25 by her bombshell announcement that her father, former president Rodrigo Duterte, and two brothers would run for the Senate in 2025.

The collapse of the alliance had long been expected, but the political challenges by the Duterte men could upset Marcos' hopes of consolidating power so he can groom a potential successor for 2028, when analysts say Sara Duterte may seek the top job. Philippine presidents are limited to a single six-year term.

"It is a threat," said Professor Jean Encinas-Franco, a University of the Philippines political science professor.

"It is a message to the Marcoses as it is a message to the Filipino people that 'we are alive and kicking'."

Marcos, 66, shrugged off the Dutertes' plans, telling reporters on June 27: "It's a free country. They're allowed to do whatever they want."

It is unclear how the potential candidacies by the senior Duterte, 79, and his sons — they would not file for the Senate races until October — might affect policy in the near term.

But victories in the May mid-term election by the Duterte family, backed by their strong political base, could complicate Marcos' efforts to pass laws that diverge from the Dutertes' interests.

The former president may be motivated to run for "political protection", Manila-based political analyst Julio Amador III said.

Duterte is being investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over