On August 22, a group of reportedly three hundred people converged at the Clark Freeport in Pampanga to present a resolution that calls on the President to head a revolutionary government until the end of his term in 2022.
The Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC) appealed for public support in its call for a revolutionary government, purportedly in order to hasten the process of charter change because a constitutional convention or constituent assembly are no longer viable due to lack of time.
On August 24, Malacañang thumbed down the proposal for a revolutionary government. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said it is President Duterte’s desire to finish his term in 2022.
“Ang Presidente po natin ay pinuno ng isang constitutional government at hindi po natin kinakailangan ang revolutionary government sa ngayon. Malinaw po na ‘yan ay isang pribadong initiative at ‘yan po ay hindi kabahagi ng priorities ng ating Pangulo sa ngayon,” Roque said.
Note how Secretary Roque has emphasized that the initiative is being made by private individuals. He tries to insulate not only himself and the President, but other government officials and employees as well who may be accused of a certain yearning for an extra-constitutional gateway towards a greater concentration of powers.
The denial appears thin considering that the launch started at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan and appeared to have enlisted the blessings of certain local elective officials and national functionaries.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is known to be the agency that spearheads constitutional reform initiatives by the administration through the inter-agency task force on Constitutional Reform or CORE. But DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya denies having ever discussed any plans for a revolutionary government.
“Since MRRD-NECC is a private organization and this is an independent undertaking, we cannot offer a comment at this time because the IATF Constitutional Reform, which the DILG chairs, has no position on the matter,” Malaya has been quoted as saying.
Government officials might as well distance themselves from the efforts of MRRD-NECC. Such a support would imply that government is shoring up popular sentiment against itself.
Disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines and to the Filipino people is listed as a grave administrative offense under civil service rules and is punishable by dismissal from the service. That penalty may be accessorized with perpetual disqualification from holding public office and forfeiture of retirement benefits.
There seems to be an attempt to mimic the legal environment that enveloped the immediate aftermath of the 1986 EDSA Revolution. That revolution took place on Feb. 23-25, 1986.
On March 25, 1986, or a month after the successful EDSA “people power” revolution, President Cory Aquino issued Proclamation No. 3, which expressly acknowledged that the EDSA Revolution was “done in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Constitution”, the Constitution that was in effect when Ferdinand Marcos was deposed from office.
In a case decided almost two decades later, the Supreme Court through Justice Antonio Carpio had occasion to explain that the resulting government was indisputably a revolutionary government bound by no constitution or legal limitations except treaty obligations that the revolutionary government, as the de jure government in the Philippines, assumed under international law.
During the divide between the old and the new Constitution, according to Carpio, the directives and orders of the revolutionary government were the supreme law because no constitution limited the extent and scope of such directives and orders.
There is, however, a fundamental, built-in obstacle to the MRRD-NECC course of action, as opposed to the revolutionary government bred by the 1986 EDSA revolution. The MRRD-NECC seeks an artificially manufactured revolution that it hopes will happen on the mere say-so of the sitting President exercising his powers under the present Constitution.
Our Supreme Court has described a revolution as the complete overthrow of the established government in any country or state by those who were previously subject to it, or as a sudden, radical and fundamental change in the government or political system, usually effected with violence or at least some acts of violence.
There can be no revolution unless there is a complete overthrow of the current government. It means the removal of people holding the reins of executive power.
A sitting President may not declare a revolutionary government by mere proclamation without an actual revolution preceding his action. Contrarily, such action endangers his tenure to a position he occupies by popular will. He will defeat his own mandate expressed at the polls, ironically, by operation of the current Constitution./WDJ