Senators have thumbed down proposals for the establishment of a revolutionary government, saying such plans will only promote disunity at a time the country is struggling to cope with COVID-19 pandemic.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said having a revolutionary government practically “means a rudderless Ship of State launched without a compass nor an agreed destination.”
“Being extra-Constitutional, it is not a simple mistake but an uncorrectable blunder. Administration enemies will win, both internal and external. The Rule of Law is our safest guide to a better Philippines. Let us turn off this ‘revolution noise’ and we will be okay,” Sotto said.
Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said the public should just shrug off the proposal coming from alleged supporters of President Duterte who are pursuing such idea.
“Dapat huwag patulan, kasi ito siguro mga nasarapan sa buhay nila dahil di naman sila Presidente kundi tagasuporta (They should ignore it, because these people). They never had it so good. Gusto nila siguro mag-revolutionary government para wala nang election (They want a revolutionary government so there would be no need to conduct elections),” Lascon said.
“Mga sulsol na wala sa lugar. Ang tawag ng mga karpintero riyan, wala sa hulog (They’re inciting is out of place. In layman’s term, their not thinking straight),” he said.
In a Twitter post, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said those groups pushing for a revolutionary government will push the country from a health crisis to an economic and political crisis and towards to the brink of collapse.
“We need unity and cooperation to fight COVID, not division as these groups are trying to perpetuate,” Gatchalian said.
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said he finds it absurd for the group to call for a revolutionary government when the current government itself could not even address the COVID-19 and led to thousands of deaths and millions of Filipinos without jobs.
The group — The Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) reportedly set a meeting inviting officials to discuss their proposal.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana himself said he does not support the call of the group.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay was also reportedly invited to the meeting but has yet to confirm this.
Vice President Leni Robredo had earlier warned that the President will be violating the Constitution in the event he declares a revolutionary government.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the private proponents can voice their opinion about a revolutionary government but the government’s urgent concern is cushioning the impact of the pandemic on the people and the economy.
“The call to establish a revolutionary government came from a private group and the organizers are free to publicly express their opinion. The focus, however, of the administration is addressing COVID-19 and mitigating its socioeconomic impact,” Roque said.
“The most pressing and most urgent concern, which requires the Executive’s full attention, is the gradual opening of the economy while safeguarding the people who are working/going back to work amid the pandemic,” he added.
The proposed establishment of a revolutionary government is a “titillating idea” for academic discussion but may be too late as a “workable concept,” according to Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
Panelo explained that any call for a revolutionary government must come from the people and not from a single organization or an individual.
“If it is a workable concept, it may be late in the day,” he said. “It must be an overwhelming call, and there is no present perceptible people’s clamor for such,” he added.
Loyal to the Constitution
The Philippine National Police (PNP) declared Sunday that it will not support any move to launch a revolutionary government being initiated by staunch supporters of President Duterte as it is a plain and simple violation of the Constitution.
PNP spokesman Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the police organization operates under the rule of law and any move that would go against the law, especially the Constitution, is illegal.
“The PNP is loyal to the Constitution and we will follow the existing laws and lawful authorities. This is one of the mandates that we have sworn into, that is, that we will uphold the Constitution and obey only the legal authority,” said Banac.
“So any move that will go against the Constitution will not be supported by the PNP,” he stressed.
In a letter to the chief PNP dated Aug. 17, the group sought a dialogue with Police Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa on Aug. 20 before its Aug. 22 assembly to sign what it describes as “Pahayag ng Bayan Tungo sa Tunay na Pagbabago” in Pampanga.
“The principal objective of pursuing a revolutionary government through peaceful and non-violent means is to bring about a genuine change that we, and then candidate Mayor Duterte, promised during the 2016 presidential campaign to establish law and order, public safety, equal opportunity in public service, and social justice and economic freedom,” the group said.
Gamboa confirmed that he was invited by the group but he failed to act as the letter did not reach him.
“We are not taking this seriously. We will not attend that kind of meeting. We assure the public that the PNP will remain loyal to the Constitution,” said Banac.
Banac said they will continue to monitor the group not only because of the revolutionary government it is advocating but also due to the possible violation of quarantine rules as the admission of the group that it will hold a series of dialogues to drum up support.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the group’s initiative is a joke.
“The joke going around is that some groups are going to topple the government and install the President as head of a revolutionary government. Creative. There is no model for this anywhere in the world,” she said in a tweet.