Guevarra says not in favor of revolutionary government

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2020 10:16 PM

MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has added his voice to a growing number of government officials not in favor of establishing a revolutionary government.

"Given the objective of setting aside and disregarding the present Constitution to promulgate a new one under the auspices of a so-called revolutionary government, I certainly do not agree with, much less share such calls, in my capacity as a lawyer, as Justice Secretary, and as an ordinary Filipino citizen," he said in a message exchange with reporters.

A group of Duterte supporters on Saturday called on the President to establish a revolutionary government with Duterte in command and hasten the passage of a new Bayanihan Constitution.

But various groups have pointed out that calling for a revolutionary government entails toppling the current government and replacing it with a new one, with some legal experts saying this constitutes a crime, a view echoed by the Justice chief.

"Insofar as these calls suggest the tearing down of existing political institutions and lead to social disorder, any complaint for inciting to sedition will be seriously investigated by the DOJ," the secretary said.

Guevarra explained that the present circumstances differ from the two previous instances when the Philippines had revolutionary governments -- the first in 1897 against the Spanish colonial government, and the second in 1986 during the EDSA People Power Revolution.

"Both were attended with some form of violence; the first, by an armed revolt, the second by a coup d' etat and people power," he said, adding that "nothing of that sort obtains under the present circumstances. The constitution is well in place, all political institutions are functioning normally, the head of govt continues to have the support of the vast majority of the people."

Among the reasons presented by the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee in pushing for a revolutionary government is Congress' failure to proceed with the proposed Charter shifting to a federal form of government and the unfulfilled promises to stamp out criminality, corruption and illegal drugs 4 years into the Duterte presidency. 

But Guevarra said these reasons are not enough to justify calling for a revolutionary government.

"If the objective of the proponents is to effect constitutional changes, the same may be accomplished without resorting to extra-constitutional ways," he said.

"Impatience is not a ground to overthrow a constitutional government and replace it with one whose undefined powers are not derived from the sovereign will of the people."

President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech recorded in Davao Tuesday night and aired on Wednesday morning, distanced himself from the group calling for a revolutionary government.

The Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have also said they are not in favor of the proposal.