Foil Duterte’s Scheme to Declare “Revolutionary Government”
Oppose Tyranny! Assert People’s Democracy!
Duterte’s “revolutionary government” track is in high gear. Local government officials and DSWD personnel are frantically working to haul a horde of millions for the coming November 30 government-sponsored rally. The rally is being projected as a “people power revolution”; an “expression of the people’s will and clamor for a ‘revolutionary government’ to be established by Duterte”.
They first attempted it last February 25, just barely the eighth month of Duterte’s presidency. Using every trick to coerce and deceive, especially the 4Ps beneficiaries, to join and pro-Duterte organizations such as MRRD, FORD, Kilusang Pagbabago mustered all their forces. They failed however to mobilize a million horde.
They are working doubly hard now for the second try.
The road-show has its front-liners. ‘Organizers’ and ‘key movers’ of the so-called rebolusyong Duterte – a curious motley of hangers-on: frustrated and failed ‘rebel’ leaders (former military rebels, ex-CPP ‘revolutionaries’), and political aspirants from among ex-movie stars and celebrities – who cannot even articulate what their so-called “revolutionary objectives’’ are, except as being “anti-oligarchy”. This was along the claim that such ‘objective’ can only be entrusted to Duterte.
They fail or refuse to see that Duterte himself comes and benefits from an oligarchic, political dynasty that lorded over Davao for nearly three decades. He claimed to being a multi-millionaire even before he started to work; flaunted his iron-fist rule in Davao City for decades; and makes no bones about the dynastic rule of his family. He is the ultimate oligarch now, supported by other oligarch cohorts – the Floirendos, the Alvarezes, the Arroyos, the Gordons, the Villars, the Remullas, the Cayetanos, the Farinases , and others, but not the least, the hated and dethroned Marcoses, whose patriarch Ferdinand, he shamelessly idolizes.
In reality, Duterte, the star of the show, does not need those front-liners or “extras” for apologists. Even before assuming office and early on his presidency, he has expressed his disdain for any limit to his power. “Do not do any investigation on me” he demanded other co-equal branches of government (Congress, Supreme Court). He is undermining Constitutional bodies (Ombudsman, CHR, COA) threatening he will “declare martial law”, or a “revolutionary government” and “abolish” them if they dare exercise their regulatory powers over the presidency. He offered no “revolutionary” excuses. Later, he also eyed “charter change” as a mechanism to increase his power and minimize regulation.
For Duterte, it was all about power – unfettered exercise of power.
Duterte is playing all three cards now, probing which card or combination of cards would serve him well. His objective: let him rule as he wishes, unfettered by established laws and regulations, by accountability and transparency. Absolutely anti-democratic.
What does declaration of ‘revolutionary government’, his most preferred move, mean? It is an extra-constitutional act – an act beyond, and thus, in total defiance of the present Constitution, which was ratified by the people in a plebiscite in 1987. The 1987 Constitution is supposedly the embodiment of the people’s will and expression of people’s sovereignty. He was elected under this Constitution and supposed to rule subject to what is stipulated in the Constitution. Declaring a ‘revolutionary government’, against the expressed will of the people is therefore a clear power grab beyond what is mandated by the Constitution.
If he succeeds, his revolutionary government will trash the 1987 Constitution and all the guarantees – economic, political, cultural rights – it provides every Filipino. There will be no constitutional rights and freedoms to talk of and assert.
It means a rule unbounded by fundamental law – an absolute, dictatorial rule unaccountable to anybody except himself. He will be the law-maker and law-enforcer. He will rule by decree.
He can declare all positions in government – elective and those protected by civil service laws – vacant, and replace those who displease him with people who please, him.
He can have anybody arrested and incarcerated anytime (Marcos did it with his Preventive Detention Act and Presidential Commitment Orders). He can have private property expropriated (Marcos did it against the Lopezes and Rufinos) and public properties privatized and amass wealth for himself and his minions. He can even impose death penalty as he pleases (Marcos did it too).
He can allow full foreign access to our natural resources and suppress communities that assert their own rights to such resources.
He can open all public services (education, health, sports facilities) and utilities (transportation, ports, roads and highways, airports, communication and media) to foreign capitalist control, and subject the country and the Filipino people to unbridled plunder and profit-making by foreign capital.
He can allow foreign military bases into the country, allow their troops to operate here, and drag the nation into big power contention.
He can have the country divided into fiefdoms (euphemistically called “local states”), to be ruled by his cohorts that include local political lords.
He claims that he will “declare martial law or a revolutionary government”, only if there is “destabilization”. But for Duterte, any criticism of his rule, any dissenting view to his view, is “destabilizing” and is a “personal insult”. Thus his abhorrence for democracy and democratic processes. Still, he even dare claim that his contemplated power grab will be in the service of the people! How can denial of freedom and rights, of their sovereignty, serve the people? Duterte is added insult to the people’s injury.
He promises that such state will be transitory for he will work immediately to restore the country to normalcy by having a new Constitution crafted and ratified by the people through a plebiscite. But what normalcy, if not the normalcy HE WANTS. Who will draft the Constitution if not the people he likes and trusts. What Constitution can come out of it if not the type of Constitution HE DESIRES. And how can the people decide in a condition that is without freedom and rights?
What in Duterte’s record can the people hang on to believe him? He has openly admitted to “planting evidences against suspects”. He has unabashedly admitted to “making up stories” to suit his ends. He has publicly admitted to extra-judicially killing at least two suspected criminals in Davao and yet deny there is EJK in the country. He has made declarations on serious matters only to pass them off later as jokes. Duterte’s gang is notorious for ‘fake news’ and malicious lies, they thrive on deceit.
His rule is pursuing, with even more zeal, the same neoliberal economic policies that have exacerbated inequality in society; that saw the demolition of whole communities to give way to big capital; the perpetuation of contractualization of labor; the increasing tax burden on the poor that pushes the nation deeper in the debt quagmire. And now, making the people bear the increasing burden of high prices of essential commodities.
The budget of the Office of the President increased several times and so as expenditures for the military and the police. This meant drastic cuts in funding for social services, especially health and education.
Despite all of his anti-US bluster, the regime has retained all the unequal treaties and ‘special relations’ with the US that makes the Philippines the most convenient and reliable base of US imperialist geo-political designs in this part of the world. Worse, the regime has further compromised Philippine sovereignty to Chinese and Japanese interests, in exchange for investments and loans.
The Duterte regime has further mangled the already ineffective judicial system, increasingly denying the poor any access at all to judicial processes. It is so notorious for its contempt for human rights, especially the right to life and to due process of every human being. Its record on extra-judicial killings of mostly poor civilians (no less than 10,000 in just one year!) has surpassed that under 8 years of Marcos’martial law, and ranks third in notoriety in Southeast Asia to the Indonesian coup (against Sukarno) and the Khmer Rouge massacres under Pol Pot. It has promoted misogyny in Malacanan and the halls of Congress.
If there is anything true about Duterte is his disdain for democracy, his lust for absolute power and his propensity to terrorize, that is, creating climate of terror and fear to numb and make the people passive. His fast- unfolding tyrannical rule is the scourge the Filipinos are suffering now.
Handing Duterte dictatorial powers will drive us deeper into the darkest depths in our social life. Filipinos need not suffer at his mercy as dictator. We have to assert our sovereign and democratic rights. We uphold our collective will and employ our collective strength.
Frustrate Duterte government’s ploy to create a fake “people power revolution”!
Campaign against the forcible mobilization of people to participate in government-sponsored rallies, especially the rally on November 30 that will bestow dictatorial powers to Duterte.
Protest against the “revolutionary government” plot, in various forms of actions possible.
Oppose Tyranny! Assert People’s Democracy!
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN)
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