“We need a radical change in government. We did not go into a revolutionary government. I don’t want it. Only when everything is turning upside down. Maybe. Hindi nakikinig ang mga gago eh! Bakit ako maghanap ng sakit ng ulo.”
November 28, 2017, PICC
TWO days after the President’s pronouncements, the November 30 nationwide orchestrated red-uniformed mass action agitating for a revolutionary government pushed through, albeit with pathetically small crowds, perhaps due to the non-support and dire warnings of the President.
In the aftermath of these demonstrations, two portents made themselves clear: first, the zealots, the fist-pumpers and the DDS will not be inhibited by the DU30 statement ostensibly sidelining revgov from the political conversation and will persist at self-hype to continue to raise expectations. And for the deprived masses expectations are a contagion.
Psychology of the rabble
Second, the mob fired up by social media has acquired a mind of its own and will continue to push beyond the limits of discretion. And when it reaches critical mass, if ever, even the President may not be able to hold them back. The mobs of the French revolution of 1789 and the Bolshevik’s in 1917, come to mind. Although the social and political fabric during those times were different from what we have now, still, the character and psychology of the rabble is essentially the same.
The buzz on the street among the fist-pumpers and the DDS is that the November 30 demonstrations were just a foretaste of what’s to come, in obvious defiance of DU30.This dangerous and unthinking horde has thrown an arrogant challenge to the presidency: “…the people have spoken, now the ball is in your court”!
In our defective democracy, it is a given that a minority however loud and insufferable, deluding itself to be speaking for ‘the people,’ has the right to be heard; but this frustration-fueled moves, bordering on despair, may prove to be a siren’s song to ruin, instead of a real restructuring of Philippine society, initially through constitutional revisions. The true-believers by their engagements have unwittingly posed a dilemma to the Deegong: ignore the challenge of declaring a revgov and risk their wrath; or accept it and throw the country to the unknown.
It doesn’t take rocket science to predict that the Deegong will not kowtow to the demands of those that he has now labeled “mga gago eh!” These people assumed too much by their dare, “…now the ball is in your court!” The Deegong is simply not playing their game.
But PRRD could be partly to blame as he injected into this cauldron a certain ambiguity to his language that the unthinking mob misinterprets as a veiled invitation analogous to a moth attracted to the flame.
Thus, the body language of the PRRD are now interpreted by both the pros and cons to favor a revgov declaration; the former, out of euphoria, the latter out of fear. With this emerging scenario, some critical questions need to be answered. What legal or legitimate mechanism is being exploited to camouflage a revgov decision, one that will allow a sitting president of a state he has been gifted to head, to declare that same state, illegitimate? An interpretation of Hobbes overarching social contract demands an authorizing legal mechanism lest the triumph of DU30’s revgov simply anoints PRRD as a dictator, with the concomitant spilling of blood.
If revgov is declared, will the Armed Forces rally to him or stick to its sworn allegiance to a Constitution, however defective that document may be? Will the MNLF/MILF/CPP-NPA just stand by? The “voxpopuli, voxdei” argument won’t wash. But more importantly, will the silent majority of Filipinos, even those level-headed supporters of PRRD, back up the initiative?
The “sea of reds” before their next rallies needs to paint workable scenarios to the public, before the majority buys in.
Revolutionary government is the raison d’être to fast-track the legitimate desire of a large portion of the Filipino population to free themselves from the shackles of poverty, injustice and a host of problems now identified as a product of an anomalous and perverted oligarchic-driven unitary system of governance. A prescription to these ailments is the revision of the 1987 Constitution and a shift to a parliamentary-federal form of government, one that candidate Duterte championed, which catapulted him to power. A large majority now is calling in that promise. But the Senate and House, the traditional bastion of oligarchic interests, are proving to be a formidable hindrance to the people’s interest. Thus, revgov is seen as the tool to break that impasse.
But this is a solution that calls for the anointing of a leader with powers that has spelled disaster to our people. And the argument that revgov is meant to be temporary until the Constitution is revised and the transition to federal-parliamentary system is in place, is at best polemical. Be mindful of Lord Acton’s counsel on the corrupting influence of power.
Storm the citadel
The mob needs to redirect its attention towards the principal obstacle and stumbling block to constitutional revisions – Congress, especially the obstinate Senate. As expressed in my previous columns: “There has to be a constitutional and legal way to break the impasse and crack the hold of an impudent (Senate) minority on the body politic. In a democratic system, negotiations are the norm to arrive at an agreement and a win-win solution between parties with divergent and oftentimes contradictory interests. Surely, we need no revgov to have these august members of the Senate see the Deegong’s way through.”
The efforts by the zealots to involve the president and the whole country in a questionable and illegal endeavor are best redirected towards the storming of this citadel of oligarchic interests. With their numbers and allies within, “persuasion, pressure and intimidation” are tools best suited to this type of engagement, not rallies and street marches – and thus leave DU30 free to govern the country as he sees fit.
As in a festering cancer, what is required is only a surgical operation to alienate and remove the tumor to save the body politic. As the tired saying goes: Think, people, think, outside of the box!