AFP chief opposes ‘rev gov’ proposal
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay denounced on Thursday calls for a revolutionary government, dismissing them as “unconstitutional” and “politically motivated.”
“We find it unconstitutional. In fact, we find it politically motivated,” Gapay said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Thursday.
“If they want to effect change, there are constitutional processes … But not through a revolutionary government. Definitely the Armed Forces will not support it,” Gapay said, referring to the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC).
MRRD-NECC proposed at a political rally at Clark Field in Pampanga that a revolutionary government be formed, headed by President Duterte, until Dec. 31 to amend the Constitution to establish a federal form of government.
Gapay said the matter was discussed at a command conference with President Duterte on Monday and the military reiterated its stand against a revolutionary government.
A group of retired security officials, called Advocates for National Interest, also opposed the call to form a revolutionary government.
“Our nation must remain united under one flag, one Constitution. We oppose any initiative from any sector that will undermine the Constitution of the Philippines,” said the group, headed by former Lt. Gen. Edilberto Adan.
“We are against the establishment of a revolutionary form of government because it is baseless, illegal and will only add to the suffering of our people. It seeks to bring about major changes in the institutions of our country, including the legislative and the judiciary through authoritarian undemocratic means. It will produce bigger problems than what it tries to solve,” the group added.
The group also includes former AFP chiefs of staff Renato de Villa, Rodolfo Biazon, Victor Ibrado, Alexander Yano, and Eduardo Oban as well as former Philippine National Police chief Recaredo Sarmiento II.
The retired generals stressed the oath they swore when they entered government services decades ago: “The mission remains, defend and uphold the Constitution.”
The active and retired security officials made the statements after another prestigious group of lawyers, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA), urged the authorities to act against the people who made the proposal, warning of the danger of merely dismissing the lobby group.
“There is danger in letting movements like this fester without immediate action. History shows that revolts do not happen overnight,” the PBA said in a statement issued by its current president, former Transportation Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla and four trustees.
“The greatest sin we can commit right now is to dismiss or ignore the true dangers these repeated calls for ‘rev gov’ pose,” the PBA said.
“The current pandemic, the coming economic crisis and a presidency on its last years are an alluring combination for those who desire power above all. We should not allow glamour-seeking upstarts to undermine the Constitution and cast the country to another dark era of chaos,” the PBA said.
The PBA issued the statement after the country’s mandatory bar association, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said that while the proposal may at best be dismissed as protected speech “it should not be allowed to progress into actions that violate existing laws.”
“A revolutionary government is repugnant to constitutionalism. It should be discouraged and denounced, as we do now. There is no legal, factual, practical or moral basis for a revolutionary government under the present circumstances,” IBP national president Domingo Cayosa said on Sunday.
Cayosa said the “persistent and growing ills” afflicting the country should be addressed by honest and democratic governance “rather than by questionable shortcuts or adventurism that exacerbate rather than solve the problems.”