WHILE Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte “appreciates” his supporters’ gestures of solidarity, Malacañang underscored that the chief executive himself “has repeatedly said there is no basis and there is no need for a revolutionary government for now.”
“So it’s actually a combination of some supporters of the president and the opposition making a big deal out of this revolutionary government,” Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
During the 145th birth anniversary of Filipino hero Andres Bonifacio on Thursday, November 30, groups with clashing views on the idea of establishing a revolutionary government staged rallies in several parts of the country.
“Even if there are government officials there, that is their personal belief. I am the spokesperson of the president and I am conveying to you the president’s position. There is no need for a revolutionary government,” Roque said.
Concerning the opposition’s view on the matter, the Palace official encouraged the president’s critics to “move on” and just “find other issues” to tackle.
Roque also dismissed rumors that Duterte would declare a revolutionary government on November 30.
“For the opposition, wala na ba kayong isyu pagdating dito sa (don’t you have other issues except for this) revolutionary government? Dahil di umano at ayon sa kanila, ngayong araw daw magdedeklara ng (Because according to them, today will be the declaration of the) revolutionary government,” Roque remarked.
He then stressed: “Wala pong revolutionary government (There’s no such thing as revolutionary government).”
Roque likewise told Vice President Leni Robredo that there is no reason to be alarmed by Duterte’s call to revamp the government.
“With all due respect to the vice president, I do not see what is alarming because the president has time and again said that he will only resort to revolutionary government kapag (if) supposed, kapag lupaypay na iyong gobyerno, ‘pag naghihingalo na iyong gobyerno (the government became weak, crestfallen),” the Palace official noted.
“And of course, hindi naman ganyan ang nangyayari sa gobyerno ngayon (the government is not in that condition right now),” he added.
Earlier on the same day, Robredo expressed alarm over rallies supporting a revolutionary government as she noted that such declaration violates the Constitution.
“Nakakabahala ito, kasi… kapag sinabi kasing revolutionary government, gusto mong isantabi iyong Konstitusyon (This is alarming because when you say revolutionary government, you want to set aside the Constitution). Ito, ano ito, laban ito sa mga existing na batas, kaya nakakabahala na (This is against the existing laws, so it is alarming),” the vice president said.
Several times in his public remarks, Duterte has warned that he would declare a revolutionary government if the country descends into chaos amid what he believes are efforts of his political opponents to topple him from power.
But early in November, Duterte said he would not declare a revolutionary government after the military expressed against supporting his plan. The president then said that Robredo was “correct” and that the military must “listen” to her regarding the issue.
Supporting RevGov an ‘illegal act’?
The former and current heads of the country’s Department of Justice (DOJ) have clashing viewpoints on whether it is illegal to express support for Duterte’s pronouncements of declaring a revolutionary government.
For Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, a former justice secretary, backing the idea of establishing a revolutionary government is considered illegal and that supporters of the cause must be held accountable.
“Alam nila na ito’y bawal sa ating Saligang-Batas ngunit hinayaan lang nila dahil pawang mga kaalyado nila ang nasa likod nito (They know that it is against the Constitution but they are allowing it knowing that their allies are behind such calls),” said Drilon on Friday, December 1.
But in a contrasting statement, current Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II insisted that those who joined the demonstrations pushing for a revolutionary government have the right to express their support for the cause.
“All of us have the right to express our own opinion,” Aguirre noted. “There is nothing wrong [with that]. In other words, we are free to express our own opinion.”