The call of a pro-Duterte group for the establishment of a revolutionary government came under fire Monday, with lawmakers and prominent lawyers assailing the move as alarming, if not a glaring violation of national security laws.
This developed as PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles became the first politician to admit getting an invitation to join the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) that declared Saturday its plan to pursue a revolutionary government that would revise the 1987 Constitution.
“I have been invited by this group many months ago but I did not accept their invitation knowing my sworn duty is to uphold and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Nograles, a nephew of Duterte.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the group may be held liable for violating Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code by “uttering seditious words or speeches” that tend to “stir up the people against lawful authorities” or disturb the peace of the community.
“RevGoV has no Basis!!!” Garbin said in a message to his party-list colleagues and the House media.
“We still have democratic processes in place (elections, plebiscites, recalls). There are no reasons to depart from the constitutional order,” stressed Garbin.
Philippine National Police chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa has publicly admitted that he was invited to join the revolutionary government advocates last Saturday but declined.
Assistant Secretary Martin Dino of the Department of Interior and Local Government publicly declared his support for the group, thus, earning criticisms for his action.
Fr. Ranhillo Aquino, dean of the San Beda College Graduate School of Law, said Dino is barred from joining the group because he has a sworn duty to protect the Constitution.
Aquino decried as “alarming and scary” the declaration of MRDD-NECC spokesman Bobbie Brillante for the establishment of a revolutionary government.
“Ito ay lantaran (this is daring), that means they are prepared and they are bent on pushing it. Iyon ang kinatatakot ko (That is what terrifies me),” said Aquino.
However, Aquino is convinced that the move made by the pro-Duterte group could be a response to the opposition’s relentless call for Duterte to step down as president.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said that the MRDD-NECC’s action is a “ploy to cancel the 2022 elections and subvert the Constitution.”
“The call is no different from how the fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos packaged his New Society aka Martial Law, as part of a ‘democratic revolution from the center’ which killed thousands of Filipinos,” the opposition solon said.
Interviewed over radio DZBB, former Commission on Elections Chairman Christian Monsod said Duterte supporters have no justification to pursue a revolutionary government, adding that they can always wait for the 2022 elections if they want a new government.
Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, said revising the Constitution is no longer part of Duterte’s plans, knowing fully well that the proposed federalism being espoused by his supporters will drastically reduce his powers in favor of governors.
“Once Duterte declares a revolutionary government, then that means he had already stepped down. I don’t think the military will go along this revolutionary government because the military already learned its lessons in 1989,” he explained, referring to the failed military-led coup d’etat in 1989.