PH President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics unfazed with his threats to setup revolutionary government

President Rodrigo Duterte in one of his talks. Image ©

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s threat on Friday to setup a revolutionary government to protect his administration from “destabilizers” earned a lot of flak from opposition lawmakers and cause oriented groups who said that aside from being unconstitutional, his threat is the product of a paranoid mind.

Liberal Party president and Senator Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan said criticism is not tantamount to destabilization efforts as he denied Duterte’s claim that the Liberal Party together with Communist Party and the rich are plotting to destabilize the government.

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Senator Franciso “Kiko” Pangilinan Photo ©

Ang kritisismo at pagpapahayag ng saloobin ay mga haligi ng demokrasya at hindi dapat ituring na destabilisasyon laban sa pamahalaan,” Pangilinan explained.

He noted that based on Article 3, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

Fundamental rights such as freedom of speech are recognized by the Constitution in building and maintaining a democratic society.

For his part, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the threat of Duterte to declare a “revolutionary government” has no constitutional basis and is based on imagined fears.

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman Image ©

A revolutionary government is the result of a successful people’s uprising or revolt overthrowing an incumbent President and his subalterns like the EDSA People Power revolution.

It is not a product of a self-serving declaration of a sitting President ostensibly to retain and prolong the exercise of powers and “crush” perceived enemies of the state, Lagman, in a statement, said.

The lawmaker from the Bicol region stressed that there are no destabilization plots or serious threats from the Left and political opposition.

What is current is critical dissent to protest and prevent the President’s destruction of democratic institutions like derogating the independence of the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court Chief Justice, among others. The attempt to constitute a “revolutionary government” is to avoid Congressional intervention and rejection which is constitutionally mandated when martial law is declared by the President, he added.

On the other hand, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Lejano noted that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense, no less, have already dismissed any destabilization plot.

“Thus, I do not understand where the President is getting his information on this imagined destabilization.”

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Magdalo Rep. Gary Lejano Image ©

“We have a working democratic government at present. As president, Duterte has access to all legal options that he may exhaust to quell any attempt of destabilization. A revolutionary government is irrelevant,” Lejano, in a statement, said.

The former putschist turned congressman added that Duterte’s “threats to declare martial law or a revolutionary government just further exposes his incapacity to lead in spite of the powers already vested in him as the highest government official of the land. Such threats are mere attempts to mask his own shortcomings. However, the people can now see through his lies.”

Lejano also called on the AFP to remain focused on the Constitution noting that it is the protector of the people and the State.

“I call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to always focus on the Constitution as they are the protector of the people and the State. They are the defenders of our democracy. It is the same Constitution that Duterte threatens to abolish which provides the basis for the AFP to abide with the president as its Commander in Chief. Absent of this, the AFP has no basis to follow the orders of Duterte as they are not the private army of his but of the entire Filipino citizenry.”

May our countrymen and other government institutions not be swayed on made up stories creating imagined crises to justify violations of the Constitution. We must remain critical of unfounded claims aimed to feed fear..

Minsan na pong naloko ang taumbayan noong kampanya. Our nation cannot afford to be fooled once more.

Launching pledge of Tndig Pilipinas members Image ©

As this developed, a coalition of cause-oriented groups and individuals on Saturday slammed Duterte and called him a “paranoid” for threatening to declare a revolutionary government to quell efforts of the Left and his critics.

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“Only a paranoid and insecure little man afraid of losing power will rationalize the need to impose a revolutionary government upon the people,” Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement.

“Like any abuser sensing that his victims are seeing him as the abuser that he is, he senses doom. He knows he is an empty can once he loses control,” the coalition added.

“We call on all democratic forces within and outside the state to resist this move to subvert our nation for the interests of one man, his family and his cohorts.”

In the same statement, Tindig Pilipinas said Duterte is threatening to “annihilate” the country’s democracy by “playing his ultimate power game.”

“He is playing for survival. Let no one see this as anything else but weakness. There is nothing reformist, much less revolutionary in this,” the group said.

Duterte on Friday said he would not hesitate to impose a revolutionary government to quell alleged destabilization moves against his administration by his enemies, which include the communist rebels, the rich and the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. He added that he would use the revolutionary powers to avert the country from falling into chaos.

Once the military government is restored, Duterte said he would order the security forces to arrest all destabilizers and go on a full-scale war against the communist rebels. With the military and the police on his side, he doubted whether any effort to take over the government would be successful.

A lawyer, Duterte noted that his hands would not be tied in case he declares a revolutionary government – unlike when he imposes martial law, which mandates the reporting to Congress within 60 days upon declaration.

Nelson Flores, J.D., MSCK
A former reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Standard Today, and a regular columnist of the Metro Manila based daily tabloid newspaper Hataw; Nelson Flores is also the former Senior Associate Editor of the Houston based Fil-Am Press and former anchor of dzXL and dzRJ's weekend talk show Usaping Bayan. Mr. Flores has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Law degrees from the University of Santo Tomas and Adamson University and a holder of a study certificate from the Diocesan House of Studies, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI). He is a Freemason and member of Reagan Lodge 1037 in Houston Heights under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas and a member of the Missionary Society of Christ the King (MSCK).

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