MANILA, Philippines — Is it a definite no or a qualified no?
It appears that President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent position against declaring a revolutionary government isn’t etched in stone.
Following recent repeated assurances that he won’t set up such kind of government, which critics fear is a step towards dictatorial rule, the chief executive again spoke about the issue, indicating that his “no” stand comes with conditions.
“Well, I hope there will never be a time I will be compelled to call for it. Ako basta abugado [I am a lawyer] and we follow the Constitution,” the President said in an interview with Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, which she posted in her blog on Wednesday.
Then the chief executive followed his latest statement about revolutionary government with this:
“Only when the Republic of the Philippines is dying, then siguro [maybe]. But other than that, that’s just to draw publicity. It’s taken out of context. Ang predicate was kung tataob na ang bayan [The predicate was if the country is about to capsize].”
“Other than that wala akong nakitang rason bakit ako mag-revolutionary government [Other than that, I see no reason why I would need to establish a revolutionary government].”
As to when the President thinks that the country — like a boat — is about to capsize isn’t immediately clear as he didn’t specify the conditions that would make him conclude that the Philippines is already on its way to sinking and thus needs to be saved by setting up a revolutionary government.
Last August, the President mentioned about revolutionary government, saying this could be the better alternative to establishing martial law for the country to make real progress.
“For me, my advice to a President who wants to change [is] do not go for martial law. They will just make an issue of it. Go for a revolutionary government so that everything will be finished,” he said.
In October, Duterte again floated the possibility of establishing such government. He said that alleged moves to destabilize the government, mainly by the communist rebels, might force his hand at declaring a revolutionary government.
He told the Reds, “If I think you are about to take over the nation, or you have destabilized government, na parang may papalit na bago [that there is going to be a takeover], I will not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government – until the end of my term.”
In September, Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the military had not monitored any threat to destabilize the Duterte administration. The AFP made the same assessment in October, with military spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla saying, “we see no major threat.”
The following month, the President issued the following statements about the issue, apparently sending a message to the public and the military that he was definitely against establishing a revolutionary government, only to be followed by a qualified no in his latest interview with Uson.
Nov. 9: “O sige. ‘Di hindi tayo mag-revolutionary government. Tama, tama siya [Okay, we won’t declare a revolutionary government. She’s right], ” Duterte told reporters while he was in Da Nang Vietnam.
He said this was what he told the military after hearing their position against establishing a revolutionary government and telling him that that their stand on the issue was similar to that of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Nov. 21 : “Huwag maniwala sa mga coup d’etat, revolutionary [government]. Wala tayong makuha diyan. Let us just build a country [(Don’t believe in coup d’etat, revolutionary government. We won’t get anything from that. Let us just build a country],” Duterte told government troops during his visit to wounded soldiers at the Army General Hospital in Taguig City.
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