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In the Philippines, are economic woes spilling into politics as President Marcos Jnr and Duterte hurl insults at each other?

While speaking to a rally of his supporters on Sunday night, Duterte said Marcos Jnr was a certified addict who had been on the government’s drug watch list.

“When I was mayor [of Davao City], the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency showed me evidence. They showed me their list and your name was on it. I did not want to say that because we are friends.”

The former president further warned Marcos Jnr, 66, that should he and his cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, continue to try to change the 1987 Constitution through a “People’s Initiative” – which entails getting 12 per cent of the entire voting population, spread out to at least three per cent per voting district, to sign a petition backing the proposed changes – this could “divide the nation” and might lead him to follow in his father’s fate “of being ousted by the people”.

A People’s Initiative is one of the constitutional modes of amending the Constitution but the current one, according to Vice-President Sara Duterte, has been marred with allegations of cash being exchanged for “yes” votes.

On Monday, shortly before departing for a state visit to Vietnam, Marcos Jnr batted away reporters’ questions about whether he was using illegal substances, saying with a laugh, “I won’t even dignify the question.”

However, he responded to Duterte’s accusation by saying the former president’s attacks were the result of an opioid fentanyl addiction.

“I think it’s the fentanyl. Fentanyl is the strongest painkiller that you can buy. It is highly addictive and it has very serious side effects, and PRRD [Duterte’s initials as president] has been taking the drug for a very long time now. I hope his doctors take better care of them [sic], this problem should not be ignored.”

Duterte has