Ex-Pres. Duterte may be held liable for sedition – Romualdos of Camiguin
MANILA, Philippines — Did former President Rodrigo Duterte commit sedition when he called for the separation of Mindanao from the rest of the Philippines?
Two Mindanao officials say it’s possible.
Camiguin Governor Xavier Romualdo and Camiguin Representative Jurdin Romualdo on Sunday warned Duterte and his camp may be held criminally liable for sedition following the former president’s call for a “separate and independent Mindanao.”
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, the governor explained Duterte’s public proposal for secession is already treading the line of sedition.
“When you rise publicly and tumultuously […] and wish to attain, outside legal methods, secession… that already falls into the elements of sedition,” Governor Romualdo explained in a mix of Filipino and English.
“One may argue that possibly, they may be held criminally liable,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Representative Romualdo – father of the Camiguin governor – cautioned against separating Mindanao from the rest of the country.
He said this proposal has “far-reaching effects on the values of sovereignty, unity and rule of law in the Philippines.”
During a late-night press conference on January 31, the former president unleashed a volley of tirades against the current administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
The former chief executive also proposed to separate Mindanao from the Philippines as, according to him, “nothing” has happened to the islands “after so many presidents.”
Duterte made the pronouncement alongside fellow Mindanaon, Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alvarez was the House Speaker during Duterte’s administration.
Duterte recently tasked him to lead the secessionist movement.
‘You had your chance’
Airing his frustration, Governor Romualdo said he found it ironic for the former president to say that Mindanao did not see progress throughout the years as he himself became a chief executive.
“You were president for six years, and now you’re saying nothing happened? Who is accountable for that if that really is the case?” he asked.
As for Representative Romualdo, in a separate interview with INQUIRER.net, he noted that Duterte tried to shoot for a federal form of government, but ultimately failed to push through with it during his term.
“You [Duterte] were given a chance. (You) could have pursued charter change back then. Why wasn’t it done?” the lawmaker wondered.
For his part, Governor Romualdo said Duterte’s claims have no basis as Mindanao has been on its way towards prosperity in recent years.
“They’re just causing trouble without any basis in fact. For me, it’s disturbing and offensive that they speak like that,” he said about the former president’s proposal.
As for what he thinks propelled Duterte to make such remarks, Governor Romualdo surmised the former president might just be wanting to be politically relevant again.
He also suspects Duterte might also be trying to evade the possible prosecution of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on his alleged orchestration of the country’s bloody war on drugs.
At the January 31 press conference, the former president mentioned if Mindanao would be separated from the rest of the Philippines, Alvarez would be able to hide him from the ICC.