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Alvarez on revolutionary gov’t: Duterte has people’s mandate

Bea Cupin
Alvarez on revolutionary gov’t: Duterte has people’s mandate
'What can we do? It's not like we can say no,' says House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in jest

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday, November 28, downplayed concerns over President Rodrigo Duterte’s on-again, off-again threats to declare a revolutionary government.

“If you would recall, during the campaign, the President already said that,” said Alvarez in a press conference.

Back in March 2016, when he was merely a presidential candidate, Duterte said he would close down Congress and declare a revolutionary government if legislators would block the budget over the scrapped pork barrel system.

“If we reach that scenario, what do you think will happen? I will declare a revolutionary government. I will close Congress. Then I will tell them, we will talk elections about two years from now. We will amend the Constitution. I will call for a constitutional convention and that’s it. They better not threaten me with impeachment,” he said then.

On November 21 this year, Duterte denied plans to establish a revolutionary government as he spoke before soldiers.

Still, Alvarez said that should Duterte push through with this plan, it would be justified.

“For me, the President has spoken about [declaring a revolutionary government] for a long time. And on the basis of the 2016 election results, he got a huge mandate. That means the people approve of this,” Alvarez added.

Duterte got more than 16 million votes in the May 2016 elections, at least 6 million votes over his closest rival, Manuel Roxas II.

Both Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas seemingly belittled the threat of a revolutionary government, joking about it in the press conference.

“He even said he’d shut down Congress,” quipped Fariñas.

“What can we do? It’s not like we can say no,” said Alvarez, laughing.

“It’s fine for me. I won’t have a job anymore. Majority Leader and I will just go around. A road trip sounds fun,” added the House Speaker.

If a revolutionary government is declared, that means all branches of government – including the judiciary and executive – will be sacked and the Constitution, rejected. The leader of the government then decides on how the government will work. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.