By Raymund Antonio
Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno said on Saturday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to declare a revolutionary government was “totally the rule of force and the rule of the gun” because it undermines the Constitution.
“Yung revolutionary government, walang guidelines ‘yan galing sa Saligang Batas. Basically, puwede niyang gawin kung anong gagawin niya. That is the rule of force, totally the rule of force and the rule of the gun,” Diokno said in a media interview.
(The revolutionary government has no guidelines from the Constitution. Basically, he can do whatever he wants. That is the rule of force, totally the rule of force and the rule of the gun.)
Diokno, who is a senatorial candidate of the opposition “Otso Diretso” slate, made a strong stand against the declaration of a revolutionary government.
Recently, Duterte threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, arrest critics, and declare a revolutionary war until the end of his term.
This came after the mounting calls for his administration to exercise caution on his order to review all government contracts, particularly those with China.
Diokno, however, said that this will be a betrayal of the people and the Constitution, which Duterte swore to uphold.
He agreed that Vice President Leni Robredo will replace Duterte as Chief Executive should he make good on this threat,
“Pag ginawa niya yon, dahin tinatalikuran niya ‘yung Saligang Batas, dapat ang susunod, ang Vice President,” Diokno said.
(If he does that, because he turns his back to the Constitution, the Vice President will succeed him.)
The opposition bet told Duterte that he can’t just round up critics even with the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
“Kinakailangan pa rin na may dahilan. Hindi naman yung basta, halimbawa, sabihin ni Pangulo, ‘galit ako diyan, nagsasalita kasi ‘yan, papahuli ko yan.’ Hindi pa rin legal yon even if the writ of habeas corpus is suspended,” he emphasized.
(Having a reason is still needed. This is not only, for example, but the President also says, I’m angry at them because they speak out against me, I will get them arrested. That is not legal even if the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.)
Diokno also said that a public official like Duterte should not be “onion-skinned.”
“He should be used to that because he had been a longtime mayor in Davao. Why did he address the matter that way,” he said in Filipino.
Diokno also reacted to Duterte’s allies dismissing the threats as a joke, saying the administration is toying with the lives of Filipinos.
“It doesn’t seem he was joking when he said that. And that’s the issue, he should not be doing that,” Diokno said.