Duterte says he won't declare revolutionary gov't

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte, on Tuesday, November 21, denied he plans to establish a revolutionary government.

"Huwag maniwala sa mga coup d'etat, revolutionary [government]. Wala tayong makuha diyan. Let us just build a country," he said to wounded soldiers at the Army General Hospital in Taguig City.

(Don't believe in coup d'etat, revolutionary [government]. We won't get anything from that. Let us just build a country.)

He reiterated this in his next event, when he honored the heroism of soldiers who fought in Marawi City.

"Ang sabi nila (They say), revolutionary, coup d'etat, huwag 'nyo intindihin 'yan, malayo 'yan (don't concern yourself with that, that's far from happening)," said Duterte.

The President said he would not use the declaration of a revolutionary government as a way to crack down on "destabilizers."

"Hindi ako mag (I will not declare a) revolutionary government. I will just arrest them," he said.

It was only a month ago when Duterte threatened to declare a revolutionary government if alleged efforts to destabilize his administration escalate.

"'Pag ang destabilization ninyo patagilid na at medyo magulo na (Once your destabilization is already creating chaos), I will not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government until the end of my term, and I will arrest all of you, and we can go to a full-scale war against the Reds," he said during an interview aired on national television on October 13.

Prior to that, he had already denied such plans. Back in August, he said, a revolutionary government is "good" for the country but he is "not into it."

Duterte's most recent downplaying of his previous threats comes a week before a planned nationwide show of support for a revolutionary government. Promotional materials for the event have been going around on social media. (READ: Pro-revolutionary gov't rally to pave way for Duterte reforms – organizer)

Organizers of the upcoming event include actress Vivian Velez who had also organized a similar rally in April, attended by over 4,000 people.

Robredo approves

Vice President Leni Robredo welcomed Duterte's statement, saying it is a step towards "allaying the fears of many Filipinos that a return to the chaos and uncertainty of a dictatorial regime may be imminent."

"It is our hope that this declaration will put an end to the dangerous and alarming proposals made in both traditional and social media the past month to set aside the certainty and security of our Constitution and laws in favor of dictatorial rule by way of either 'revolutionary government' or martial law," said Robredo on Wednesday, November 22.

The Vice President does not support any moves for a revolutionary government, arguing that the Constitution is a "covenant" between Filipinos and their government. 

"Our authority, and our legitimacy, is anchored on our fidelity to the Constitution, and to the democratic principles enshrined within it. Setting aside the Constitution is a betrayal of this oath, and denies this authority and legitimacy," said Robredo.

"The President’s latest declaration should serve as a clear message to all our public officials and our people — the oaths we took will continue to be honored, and our Constitution, and the democratic republic it establishes, will be upheld and defended," she added. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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