Duterte eyes revolutionary government
Should he win the presidency in May 2016, the tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wants to set up a revolutionary government to pave the way for federalism.
He considers federalism the only way to solve corruption, criminality and the Bangsamoro problem.
Duterte’s call for the establishment of a revolutionary government to pave the way for a federal system was the closest thing to a declaration of his presidential run as he claimed he remains undecided on whether he would run for President.
He presented the idea of a federal system with a “take it or leave it” position during his visit to the Inquirer editorial offices in Makati City on Tuesday night.
“If you don’t want that, OK. Look for another son of a b*tch,” Duterte told editors and reporters on Tuesday night, occasionally blurting out expletives.
Federalism is a type of government in which power is divided between a central national government and local governments, thereby enhancing the autonomy of local government units. Certain areas like national defense, currency and foreign affairs, are under the control of the national government. Some areas are under the control of local governments.
A federal form of government is supported by politicians who assail the top-down political setup under the presidential system based on decisions from what they call “imperial Manila.”
To fast-track federalism
Duterte, known as Davao City’s executioner with the vigilante group Davao Death Squad being linked to him, described his revolutionary government as the only way “to fast-track federalism.”
“I have to stop criminality and corruption. I have to fix this government. I won’t do it if you want to place me there with the solemn pledge to stick to the rules,” he said.
Duterte said he and his entourage of supporters went to the Inquirer to be frank about his opinions and ideas.
“What will I do with power? For what. If I become the President, I want to get out with a new bureaucracy, a new government,” the 70-year-old Duterte said.
He said he wanted to do a shake-up in the military and the police, and ask all generals and officials to tender their resignation.
Afterward, he said he would get the best and brightest Filipinos to fill the police and military ranks, and offer them good salary packages.
Pay hike for teachers
The teachers will also see increased salaries and benefits, he said.
“I will close Congress. Do you know why? I will use the money to improve the (performance of) guys in government,” he said, noting that with his plans, under the present system, he would be constantly threatened with impeachment.
Duterte said that “only a (President Ferdinand) Marcos could change the system.” He, however, qualified his statement, saying even the late President Cory Aquino had to shut down Congress.
Amid social unrest, Marcos declared martial law in 1972, suspended the 1935 Constitution, dissolved Congress and assumed absolute power. He also ordered the arrest of political opponents and closed down all media outfits.
“Why will I be a Marcos? There is a lesson there in history to look at. Why not follow Cory?” he said.
After the ouster of Marcos in the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, former President Cory Aquino formed a revolutionary government. She abolished the 1973 Constitution that was in effect during martial law, and she promulgated the provisional 1986 Freedom Constitution, pending the ratification of a new Constitution.
Under the revolutionary government, Cory Aquino exercised executive and legislative powers until the new Constitution was ratified and a new Congress established in 1987.
Duterte sidestepped a bit and said he had no ambition to be a dictator.
“In my second year, I will call a constitutional convention (Con-con) [to draft a Constitution]. I will guarantee you that there will be no compromises,” he said.
Without a revolutionary government, only those moneyed and previously in power, along with their wives, will get the seats, he said.
Delegates to the Con-con are elected in congressional districts.
Asked whether media outfits would be shut down under his revolutionary government, Duterte said: “Of course not. It’s up to you to report whatever you see.”
Federalism vs BBL
Duterte said he was prompted to go around the country to promote federalism due to the tragic Mamasapano raid on Jan. 25, and the consequent delay in the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).
The measure when passed would establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The BBL is part of the comprehensive peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“Without the BBL, what is your next card? I have looked into the BBL and it has a lot of inconsistencies,” Duterte said.
He was not alone in advocating federalism as a solution to the thorny issue of Bangsamoro political entity.
Retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno in June formed a campaign called “Bagong Sistema, Bagong Pag-asa” with civil society groups to push for the convening of a Con-con to amend the Constitution.
“The wellspring of corruption is the Constitution itself,” Duterte said, noting the limits of the powers of executive department.
“All money matters and budget appropriation [are limited by the Constitution],” he said, stressing that in Davao City he could easily do a shake-up in an agency “from the head down to the janitor.”
To Duterte, the five pillars of the Philippines’ justice system—law enforcement, prosecution, judiciary, correctional institutions and the community—are dysfunctional.
Because the correctional institutions have failed to do their jobs to rehabilitate convicts, criminality is constantly on the rise, according to the mayor.
“After Muntinlupa (New Bilibid Prison), ex-convicts would commit crimes anew because they could no longer adjust to life outside prison and they want to go back to prison,” Duterte said.
“Tell me what to do—drugs, flooding and children being raped. The justice system is working badly,” he said.
3 things to do
Duterte, who frequently punctuated his sentences with swear words, said he only wanted to do three things: “stop criminality, stop corruption and fix the government.”
With the growing public clamor for him to run, Duterte continues to fend off questions on his presidential bid.
He said six tycoons, including Lucio Tan, had tried to convince him to seek the presidency.
“He (Lucio Tan) told me, ‘I want you to run. You can use my airplanes,’” Duterte said. “But I told them, ‘I don’t want to.’”
Claiming he had two wives to appease, the mayor said his family, particularly his daughter Inday Sara Duterte, was adamant on talks about his presidential run.
“There are so many reasons. I didn’t take and save money while in position like the others,” he said, taking a swipe at presidential aspirants accused of corruption.
In his Inquirer visit, Duterte was accompanied by supporters, including former National Food Authority Chief Lito Banayo and former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Hermogenes Esperon.—Niña P. Calleja