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Lawyers' group slams call for Duterte-led revolutionary government

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Sunday, August 23, said revived calls for a revolutionary government should be “discouraged and denounced” as there are other ways to address issues in the country.

“A revolutionary government is repugnant to constitutionalism,” IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement. “There is no legal, factual, practical, or moral basis for a revolutionary government under the present circumstances.”

The IBP is the official organization of all lawyers in the Philippines.

The IBP made this statement after an assembly in Pampanga on Saturday, August 22, revived a long-running quest for the declaration of a revolutionary government under the Duterte administration. (READ: Can Duterte declare a revolutionary gov't? Here's what you need to know)

Duterte supporters want a revolutionary government – with Duterte as head – to usher in charter change.

While calling for a revolutionary government may “at best” fall under freedom of expression, however, Domingo said it should not be allowed to lead to actions that violate laws. 

“The persistent and growing ills afflicting our country are better addressed by honest, efficient, transparent, accountable, and democratic governance under the rule of law rather than by questionable shortcuts or adventurism that exacerbate rather than solve the problems,” he said. 

Same calls have been circulating as early as 2017, with supporters wanting the President to declare so he can usher in charter change – one of his campaign promises.

Like the IBP, opposition senator Francis Pangilinan condemned efforts to establish a revolutionary government.

“The nation is already grappling with hunger and joblessness as a result of the lockdown, PhilHealth mess, and lack of funds. The Filipinos will get nothing out of this distraction,” Pangilinan said in a statement on Sunday.

“While the moves of the individuals behind the revolutionary government should be taken with a grain of salt, we must remain vigilant to thwart it as such could be a thinly-veiled dictatorship that would concentrate power in the hands of the president – which freedom-loving Filipinos should resist,” he added.

House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate tagged the latest initiative as "just another ploy in the arsenal of schemes" of Duterte supporters to consolidate power.

"This is just another waste of resources especially in this time of severe crisis aggravated by the corona virus pandemic," the Bayan Muna representative said.

"The people should vigorously oppose this anti-democratic initiative, especially since clearly its main objective is the mere perpetuation in power of the incompetent and tyrannical rule of the present administration," he added. – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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