Revolutionary government is not the answer

05:02 AM October 24, 2017

President Duterte’s warning to declare a “revolutionary government” may turn out to be just what his aides have previously cautioned journalists about: Do not take all of the President’s remarks literally, as some of his most controversial statements were merely “hyperbole or rhetoric.” Perhaps the idea of a “revolutionary government” was merely floated by the President out of his desperation for change — that does not seem to come that easy — and which he practically assured the people during his 2016 campaign.

The lawyer in him will tell the President that a revolutionary government is the result of a revolution where the existing legitimate government is completely overthrown by a new group of leaders that establishes its own government. For sure, Duterte would not allow any group to topple down our existing government as this will greatly disappoint the more than 16 million voters who elected him as President.


In a word, the President cannot revolt against the government but would definitely resist any move to cause its collapse into the hands of a revolting group of leaders.

An example of a revolutionary government we experienced was when Ferdinand Marcos was thrown out of office in 1986 in a people power revolution that installed Cory Aquino as its titular head, and later as president under the “Freedom Constitution” that replaced the 1973 Constitution of Marcos.


Meanwhile, the second people power, which caused the ouster of Joseph Estrada, did not establish a revolutionary government because he was succeeded by his vice president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, pursuant to the 1987 Constitution. This made Arroyo a “constitutional successor” because the oath of office she took as president is the oath of office under the 1987 Constitution. This cannot be said of Cory because she became president under a revolutionary government and the oath of office she took was from the “Freedom Constitution.”

But what happened during the time we were under a revolutionary government taught us the lesson that it is not a guarantee or sure-fire formula for our nation’s quest for a truly successful government. In a word, it seems that our problem is not the system of government but the people who are running the system.

ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, election lawyer, Las Pinas City

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