Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Sunday threw her support behind her father’s plan to establish a revolutionary government, saying the threat of destabilization is real.
The mayor echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements last week that he would declare a revolutionary government until the end of his term in June 2022 if the destabilization efforts of communists get out of hand.
Tindig Pilipinas, a coalition against President Duterte, called the President’s threat an act of paranoia and insecurity.
The younger Duterte came to her father’s defense.
“How could he be insecure? He is the President. When you are the President, there is nothing that will make you feel insecure – not the survey results, or a person like Trillanes, or a power-hungry group called Tindig Pilipinas,” Sara said in a statement.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th is one of the members of Tindig Pilipinas, which staged a protest on Saturday to call on the President to sign bank waivers that could lead to the opening of Duterte’s bank accounts.
Trillanes, who claimed that the President had billions of pesos in the bank, signed 12 bank waivers himself allowing the Anti-Money Laundering Council and the Office of the Ombudsman to examine his bank deposits.
“Of course, he (President Duterte) is not insecure. All of his claims of destabilization are from intelligence reports and reliable sources from inside the offices of the people identified with the opposition,” Sara, a lawyer like her father, pointed out.
“Power grabbers have made their point, made their presence felt, caught our attention, and we know who they are. The threat of destabilization is as real as terrorism,” she added.
On Friday, Duterte said he would resort to a revolutionary government if communists and other opponents tried to destabilize his government.
“If your destabilization is taking place and there is chaos already, I will not hesitate to declare a revolutionary government until the end of my term and I will arrest all of you and we can go into a full-scale war against the Reds,” he said, in reference to communist rebels who have waged a nearly 50-year insurgency.
The President alleged that the US Central Intelligence Agency was part of a plot to destabilize him, and warned he would jail all of his opponents, as well as the communist leaders.
“I will declare a revolutionary government, you are all arrested. I am not scaring people, just remember that,” he said.
Duterte cited the precedent set by former president Corazon Aquino, who established a revolutionary government soon after leading a “People Power” uprising in 1986 that ended the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
Aquino sacked all elected officials, abolished Congress and tore up the 1973 Constitution in favor of a provisional charter.
But she then ensured a new constitution was written and stepped aside after the elections in 1992.
To prevent a recurrence of a dictatorship, the post-Aquino Constitution limited presidents to a single term of six years.
Critics fear the 72-year old Duterte, who has repeatedly threatened to impose martial law, is intent on dragging the country back into dictatorship and handing himself more freedom in prosecuting his drug war.
“Definitely, what it all means is that he alone will rule and we’re going back to a Marcos[-like] dictatorship,” said former representative Neri Colmenares.
Colmenares said the revolutionary government threat was part of Duterte’s “established pattern of intolerance to dissenting voices and his belief that brute force will solve all problems.”
One of Duterte’s fiercest critics, Sen. Leila de Lima, is in jail on drug trafficking charges she and rights groups say were fabricated to silence her.
Last September, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the Senate during a budget hearing there was no brewing coup d’etat against Duterte.
Palace Communications Chief Martin Andanar affirmed Sara’s claims that the President was unfazed by criticisms from Tindig Pilipinas.
“That’s their opinion and we don’t share it. We have been working closely with the President and we can assure you that his mind is sound. These sorts of comments only take away attention from more vital issues of the state,” Andanar said.
He accused Tindig Pilipinas of spreading lies to push its selfish political agenda.
“This will not weaken the resolve of the President to carry out what he promised to do [which is to]reduce crime and corruption, provide better services for the poorest of our people, among others,” the Palace official said.