MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte chose to give a light-hearted response to a statement by Vice President Leni Robredo that the military had assured her they would not support a revolutionary government.
Duterte, speaking to reporters on Thursday, November 9, said the military would not back a revolutionary government because they prefer to be led by Robredo, who does not curse like him.
"Tinanong ko ang military. Sabi nila, 'Hindi kami susuporta ng revolutionary government.' Sabi ko, 'Why?' Sabi nila, 'Dahil sabi ni Vice President Robredo,'" said Duterte.
(I asked the military. They said, "We won't support a revolutionary government." I said, "Why?" They said, "Because Vice President Robredo said so.")
The President did not name the military officials he had spoken to. Robredo had received the assurance from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces chief General Rey Leonardo Guerrero.
In the same playful tone, Duterte continued with his narration: "'O bakit?' Sabi niya, 'Mas gusto namin siya, babae at saka hindi nagmumura.'"
("Oh, why?" He said, "We prefer her. She's a woman and she doesn't curse.")
He later on said, "Dapat sundin si Robredo (They should follow Robredo)."
Duterte claimed he told the military, "O sige, 'di hindi tayo mag-revolutionary government (Okay, then we won't declare a revolutionary government)."
When asked to clarify if this meant his revolutionary government plans are "off the table," Duterte did not give a categorical answer.
"Sino ba naman mag-announce mag-revolutionary ka? 'Di mag-revolutionary ka na diretso. Bakit ka pa magdrama-drama?" he said.
(Who would announce that they'd put up a revolutionary government? They would just do it. Why would they go through such drama?)
The Philippine president once said he prefers establishing a revolutionary government to declaring nationwide martial law since military rule requires the approval of Congress and the judiciary.
In a revolutionary government, he said, he would be able to take out all undesirable government officials from their posts, regardless of which branch of government they belong to.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.