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Kris-Crossing Mindanao

RevGov is the elephant in the room

The template for a revolutionary government is already in place.

In a microscopic province in the south, all entering business investments must grant a stockholder’s privilege to the governing family. Who will invest in that kind of rubbish?

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Who owns open-pit mines in Surigao and elsewhere? Just look at the roster of the so-called honorable legislators in Congress and be able to name the tune. Don’t be shocked, Gina Lopez.

The hypothesis needs no rocket scientist to analyze. A revolutionary government exists in our local government units and these are the rules of the template: 1) unbridled and unmitigated access to natural and business resources; 2) absence of freedom of information; and 3) use of state forces to kill political dissenters. No other prototype exists, sorry.

How many have been killed in the name of LGU RevGovs? Last Thursday was the eighth anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre (no, I don’t call it the Maguindanao Massacre). The checkpoint where the victims were first halted (as if it were martial law; listen, Manila, how would you react if this were done to you?) was manned by the chief himself of the 15th Regional Mobile Group of the Philippine National Police. Talk about cronyzing (there must be a word) state forces to one’s tyrannical benefit.

The local despot is not alien to us: Judgments are impaired as craving for power increases. Familiar? By the way, there is a name for it — megalomania. Any researcher of the phenomenon among our elected officials would find it easy to do studies in our LGUs. Megalomaniacs are a Lapu-Lapu centavo a dozen.

Davao has been under a RevGov for years — didn’t we know that? Look, the city has no dissenters because dissenters end up in the cemetery. Rodrigo Duterte has to spin a myth of his mosquito net to deflect the truth about No. 1: his unbridled access to money. Look how he has scaled this to the national level: His intelligence funds alone add up to P2.5 billion, P15 billion more unaudited funds than the last administration. Don’t quibble with me; I was never a yellowtard.

Mr. Duterte then awed us with a toothless freedom of information order, which does not even cover the legislature and the local governments. The fake bloggers — oh, how they get mesmerized. But we now know they have been amply rewarded with largesse. The initials BBM have been parodied as “Bayaran ni Bongbong Marcos”—can we blame the creative wordsmiths around us?

Here Mr. Duterte is insolent, even brazen: No. 3 is what he finds difficult to do in the national level. He has to demolish first the independent institutions of the state: the Ombudsman and the Supreme Court. Liar Larry Gadon is a faithful lieutenant.

The point of scaling up his Davao RevGov to the national level is only stymied by this: He knows the time would come when there will be establishment figures ready to betray him when the time is ripe, OR a spontaneous public anger that would trigger popular unrest. The two would be a lethal combination. Davao City was a breeze.

His basis for a RevGov has already been argued: his false poverty. Elena Ceausescu, the codictator of Romania who was executed in 1989, began as a socialist democrat — a bleeding heart of the poor. A visit to Versailles started her fascination for chandeliers and stained glass. After 34 years in power, she and her husband built 40 palaces all over Romania, most of them never used. The spell of the Imeldific has drowsed us to sleep.

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History always avers: The end of tyrants will be a macabre spectacle — the Ceausescus, Benito Mussolini, Moammar Gadhafi.
Mr. Duterte is afraid of that, so he now hems and haws with his pitch for a RevGov. But the temptation stays: Rule the country as though it were Davao City. The growing opposition he faces imperils the stability of his mania for autocracy. Davao was a piece of durian cake. The daughter, Inday, almost anointed as the de facto successor to the dynasty, had better be forewarned.

Karl Marx was right: “Men make their history, but they do not make it as they choose.”

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TAGS: Antonio Montalvan II, Kris-Crossing Mindanao, RevGov, revolutionary government, Rodrigo Duterte
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