MANILA - A group supporting President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday renewed calls to declare a revolutionary government and push for charter change.
In an event held at the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone in Pampanga, the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) called on the chief executive, a former long-time Davao City Mayor, to head the revolutionary government.
“We are urging our Filipino brothers and sisters to join us in declaring a revolutionary government and appeal to the president to head this revolutionary government, to institute the changes up to the end of his term,” said Bobby Brillante, deputy national spokesperson of the MRRD-NECC.
Duterte's term ends in 2022.
Brillante joined other groups at the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone in Pampanga for a manifesto signing calling for the revolutionary government and to push for a shift to federalism while Duterte still has 2 years left in office.
“This is a people’s initiative type na hindi na kami makakahintay sa Congress para mabago pa (where we can't wait for Congress to institute changes). This is a signing of a manifesto statement of support and coalition building para sa inilabas nating (so we could release our) manifesto. The manifesto that we have today will be the basis of our unity. Considering there is a limited time remaining [in] his term, kailangang i-revolutionize natin ang (we have to revolutionize the) process of change and we cannot leave this Congress,” he said.
Duterte had promised to spread political power and resources that have long been held in the capital, Manila, by setting up a federal government through charter change.
The House of Representatives in the 17th Congress approved a draft federal charter on third and final reading in December 2018, but the Senate rejected it.
The People’s National Coalition For Revolutionary Government and Charter Change said Duterte shouldl be at the helm of the revolutionary government. It would only last until June 30, 2022. An interim revolutionary council will be established with a prime minister overseeing day-to-day affairs of government.
“Mas mabilis ang pagkilos ng gobyerno, kasi ngayon isang presidente lang lahat doon nakatutok at ang powers lahat nandoon. Samantalang ito kung ang presidente may sarili siyang function pero 'yung prime minister naman through his cabinet ministers composing the government, 'yun ang magpapatakbo ng day-to-day operations, na they would be directly accountable to the people,” Brillante said.
(It would hasten government action because right now the power is centered on the president. While here, the president has his own functions but the prime minister, through his cabinet ministers composing he government, will run the day-to-day operations and they would be directly accountable to the people.)
Brillante believes that the revolutionary government would serve as a transition regime to help establish federalism in the country. The group is pushing for a presidential-federal-parliamentary system of government.
“Dahil sa kainipan namin, nagsama-sama kami para tulungan ang President na maisulong ang pagbabagong ipinangako niya. Ang hinahanap natin dito 'yung katuparan ng pangako,” he said.
(We came together to help the president pursue his promised changes. What we're looking for here is the fulfilment of his promise.)
He said changes should be made during the period of the revolutionary government, much like what the late President Corazon Aquino had done. The late democracy icon declared a revolutionary government following the ouster of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.
“Sunod-sunod na 'yung pagbabago ng ating Saligang Batas at pagkatapos ay isumite ito sa taumbayan para sa ratification bago tayo mag-election,” he said.
(The changes to the Constitution were made and submitted to the people for ratification before an election was held.)
They also stressed that they are not pushing for a term extension for Duterte.
“In other words, dito sa aming proposal even the term of the president will be shortened by 6 months dahil gusto namin by January baba na sila lahat, 'yung mga bagong halal ang magte-take over na,” he said.
(In our proposal, the term of the president will be shortened by 6 months because we want everybody to step down by January and the new elected leaders to take over.)
Last year, Duterte said he would declare a revolutionary government after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon told him to be careful when reviewing agreements with China.
Back in 2017, Duterte also threatened to set up a revolutionary government amid alleged destabilization efforts by his enemies, including communist rebels, the "oligarchs," and even the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
After Saturday’s event in Pampanga, Brillante said they would hold a nationwide caravan and simultaneous mass actions in different provinces to convince more people to join the cause.
“Ang expected culmination natin dito is to go to Malacanang and inform the President that the Filipino people are already seeking the real change,” he said.