MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Malacañang said Sunday it is focusing on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic amid efforts by supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte to establish a revolutionary government, a movement being rejected by the defense department and national police force.
"The call to establish a revolutionary government came from a private group and the organizers are free to publicly express their opinion," Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
"The focus, however, of the Administration is addressing COVID-19 and mitigating its socioeconomic impact," Roque added.
"The most pressing and most urgent concern, which requires the Executive's full attention, is the gradual opening of the economy while safeguarding the people who are working/going back to work amid the pandemic."
The Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) renewed its call on Saturday for the chief executive, a former long-time Davao City Mayor, to head the revolutionary government to be able to shift to federalism.
Under the group's proposal, the revolutionary government would serve until June 30, 2022, the end of Duterte's term.
On Saturday night, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, "We do not support them," a statement echoed by the Philippine National Police.
PNP chief Dir. Gen. Archie Gamboa earlier said he received invitation for a meeting from the MRRD-NECC, which hoped to lay down the series of activities they plan to hold regarding the peoples' initiative.
In a statement, the PNP said Sunday it "will never support any move to establish a revolutionary government. We urge the public not to be distracted amid our fight against pandemic."
"The PNP remains true and loyal to the Constitution. We will continue to uphold it and obey legal orders from the duly constituted authorities," it added.
The revolutionary government proposal has earned criticism, with some lawmakers saying there was no need for such movement.
"Don't us," said Sen. Kiko Pangilinan on Twitter, citing government's seemingly wanting response to COVID-19.
"Revgov na pamumunuan din nila? Eh yung pamumuno nga sa pagsugpo ng Covid nauwi sa daang libung nagkakasakit, libulibu ang namamatay, milyun milyon ang nawalan ng trabaho at ginugutom at bilyun bilyong pisong nakawan tapos sila pa rin ang mamumuno??"
(A revolutionary government they will lead? When their leadership led to hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 cases, thousands of deaths, millions hungry and without jobs, and billions worth of stolen money. And they will continue to lead it?)
Sen. Sonny Angara, meantime, tweeted the hashtags #noTOREvGov #yestotheConstitution.
Election Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the proposal was “a joke.”
"The joke going around is that some groups are going to topple the government and install the President as head of a revolutionary government. Creative .. there is no model for this anywhere in the world," she said in a tweet.
A revolutionary government is "repugnant to constitutionalism" and should be discouraged and denounced, said the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
"There is no legal, factual, practical or moral basis for a revolutionary government under the present circumstances," IBP national president Domingo Cayosa said in a statement.
"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."
--With reports from Henry Atuelan, Michael Delizo and Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News