Threatening our democracy

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has stated that the Palace views the clamor of some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a revolutionary government as having no legal basis.  This statement was made as Duterte supporters on Thursday mounted a bid to rally public support to its cause.

“We appreciate the calls of the President’s supporters for RevGov but I think there’s no factual or legal basis as of now,” Roque said at a recent press briefing in Mindanao.

This comes in the wake of an organized efforts of some groups to prod Duterte into trashing the Constitution and fashioning out a revolutionary government, as a way to achieve its campaign promise of bringing about “change”. They even have ranking government officials such as DILG Asec Epimaco Densing and PCOO Asec Mocha Uson pushing for it.

Of course there is nothing in our Constitution, the fundamental law of the land which President Duterte has vowed to uphold when he was democratically elected, that provides for a RevGov. It is even very clear on providing stringent conditions before its subdued version, martial law, can be declared in the entire country.

This talk of a revolutionary government did not come from the opposition, ironically, as it normally should be the case. Establishing a revolutionary goverment is the avowed objective of the armed revolutionary groups such as the CPP-NPA-NDF and the moro separatists. Cory Aquino did it when People Power ousted the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. She restored democracy and our democratic institutions.

The idea of today’s RevGov emanated from President Duterte himself, having expressed frustration that the present Constitution is making it difficult for him to achieve the objectives he had set upon himself and that he had found it difficult to navigate the established democratic system to make things happen for his government.

“If my country is weakened and I see revolutionaries bringing firearms on the streets, well, maybe you shouldn’t have second thoughts, I will declare a revolutionary government,” he said recently. “I don’t want martial law [because it has] many restrictions. I will take it to the hilt. So do not do something that will cause or even attempt to topple [the] government, I will not allow that.”

Such an open-ended statement does not bode well for a one-liner assurance from Malacanang. At this point, many groups who still believe in the Constitution and adhere to the country’s democratic fundamentals have expressed concern over the hype that RevGov has been receiving from the administration itself and President Duterte’s supporters.

What is alarming at this point is not yet the organized campaign for RevGov, so long as the established government is paying lip service to our Constitution and democratic way of life, and so long as the primary institutions such as the armed forces are clear on their sworn duty to uphold the fundamental law.

What is frustrating is the deafening silence of our local officials, those who have been elected under the democratic system that is now under threat of being set aside for an unclear promise, albeit a guaranteed societal chaos.

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