'I don't know them': Duterte distances self from group who renewed call for revolutionary gov't

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte, who previously floated the idea of declaring a revolutionary government to address the nation’s problems, distanced himself from the renewed call for such a movement.

The Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC), a volunteer movement that supports the chief executive, called to declare a revolutionary government to amend the constitution. The coalition wants Duterte to head the so-called revolutionary government.

“May naglalabas revolutionary government tapos ako ang sinasabi na…” Duterte said in a recorded speech aired Tuesday morning.

(A call for revolutionary government surfaced and they’re saying I’ll be the [one to lead].)

“Wala akong pakialam diyan. Wala akong kilala sa mga tao na ‘yan at hindi ko ‘yan trabaho,” claimed Duterte, who attended an event of MRRD-NECC in 2018.

(I don’t care about that. I don’t know any of the people who pushed for that and that’s not my job.)

Photos posted by the Presidential Communications Operations Office showed Duterte attending the national convention of the group at Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on March 21, 2018 and delivered a speech there.

President Rodrigo Duterte shows a gesture of respect after delivering his speech during the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Committee (MRRD-NECC) National Convention at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City on March 21, 2018. 
Presidential Photo/Robertson Niñal

Previous remarks on revolutionary gov’t

Duterte himself had dangled the call to establish a revolutionary government. In 2015, the then Davao City mayor first mentioned a plan to set up a revolutionary government if elected. He said he would padlock Congress and the judiciary through extraconstitutional means and would establish a federal-parliamentary type of government.

In 2017, he threatened to establish a revolutionary government to quell supposed destabilization plots against his administration and to declare all government posts vacant if the country plunges into “chaos.”

The president later on clarified that would make such move if “things go out of control” and if his administration is at risk of being toppled violently.

In 2019, Duterte warned he would declare a revolutionary government and suspend the writ of habeas corpus and arrest his critics after opposition senator Franklin Drilon appealed to the administration to be careful in reviewing government contracts. Malacañang then said the remark was an “exasperated expression.”

In responding to the latest push for revolutionary government, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government’s priority is to respond to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected over 194,000 people and killed at least 3,000.

‘Don’t add fuel to the fire’

In the same speech, Duterte took issue with Vice President Leni Robredo’s speech.

Hours before Duterte’s meeting with the Cabinet, Robredo had a public address to report her recommendations on how to improve the government’s response, which include extending cash aid of P5,000 per month to poor families.

She also said Filipinos are losing their “confidence” in the government at it scrambles to contain the crisis and that they step up when the government fails them.

“Kung walang mamumuno, tayo mismo ang hahakbang, tayo mismo ang magtutulungan, tayo mismo ang bibitbit sa isa-t isa, tayo mismo ang haharap, tayo mismo ang mangunguna. Gagampanan natin ang anumang tungkulin para daigin ang ating pagsubok sa ngalan ng kapwa,” she said.

(If no one will lead us, we will do this ourselves: we will help, carry one another. We will face this challenge, lead it. We will do what needs to be done to overcome this challenge in the name of our fellowmen.)

Duterte asked the vice president not to “add fuel to the fire.”

“Wag niyong sirain ang gobyerno kasi masisira ang tao. Pag masisira ang gobyerno, lulutang tayong lahat. Maski na sabihin nyong mamatay ako bukas it cannot solve the problem of the country,” he said.

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