MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said he hopes he would not be "compelled" to set up a revolutionary government in the Philippines, as he insists he still finds no reason to declare such.
"Well, I hope there will never be a time I will be compelled to call for it. Ako basta abugado and we follow the Constitution," Duterte said in an interview with Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson posted on Wednesday.
It was Duterte himself who floated the idea of setting up a revolutionary government, wherein sweeping governmental reforms will take place, such as the declaration of government posts as vacant.
He has since flip-flopped on the issue, saying the country "won’t get anything" from the setting up of a revolutionary government.
The President, however, said he might be forced to declare a revolutionary government if the country, like a ship, "is about to capsize."
"If the country is going like a ship about to capsize then that would be the time, maybe, I will have to declare [a revolutionary government]," he said.
"Other than that wala akong nakitang rason bakit ako mag-revolutionary government."
While the President has already dismissed the idea of setting up a revolutionary government, in recent days he said he wants an overhauled Constitution that has strong anti-corruption provisions.
To allay fears he would use the Charter change to extend his stay in office, he assured the public he will step down once the revision of his desired version of the charter is fulfilled.
Various pro-Duterte groups around the country, including in the President’s home city of Davao, are scheduled to hold rallies today to call on the setting up of a revolutionary government, as the country celebrates the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.
Duterte said he respects the decision of his supporters to mount rallies calling for the setting up of a revolutionary government, noting that these may be borne out of the frustration over the corruption in government.
Cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas, which counts prominent political opposition figures as its members, however, is not convinced that Duterte has indeed abandoned the idea of setting up a revolutionary government.
"Let us not be fooled by President Duterte and his administration’s capacity to hem and haw or be deceived by their seeming reluctance to declare a revolutionary government," Tindig Pilipinas said in a statement.
"Their plans subvert our Constitution, upend our laws and rend our social fabric are serious and real. The threat is imminent."
The group added that the "promise of a golden age brought by revolutionary government is a myth."
"Our country was once fooled by President Marcos and his promise of a New Society. In the end, we became a beggar state and the doormat of Asia. That is why we say Never Again."
"If Duterte has been unable to wield the tremendous powers of the Presidency to bring about the reforms he has promised under a democracy, he is at best incompetent, at worse, traitorous or both. He cannot be given more powers when he has proven himself capable only of using those powers to benefit himself and his friends."
Vice President Leni Robredo also rejected the idea of setting up a revolutionary government, adding it would be "ironic" since the establishment of such will mean the dissolution of the present government.
"Nakakabahala ito, kasi kapag sinabi kasing revolutionary government, gusto mong isantabi iyong Konstitusyon. Laban ito sa mga existing na batas, kaya nakakabahala," Robredo said in a chance interview during the celebration of Bonifacio Day in Caloocan City.
"Iyong tanong nito, iyong mga sasali ba dito…may be held liable? Kasi iyong pag-alsa laban sa Konstitusyon, pag-alsa iyon laban sa pamahalaan."