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Panelo: Constitution mandates Duterte to declare revolutionary gov’t

President Rodrigo Duterte is mandated by the Constitution declare a revolutionary government to prevent any move to bring down the government, the chief presidential legal adviser said Tuesday.

"If there is any move that will bring down the government, then the Constitution directs him, instructs do something about it. Declaring a revolutionary government would be one of them," said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo in an interview on Unang Balita.

Panelo also believes that such possible move by the President will be widely supported because he had raised the idea during the May 2016 election period.

"Moreover, when he campaigned during the last stretch, he said that he would declare a revolutionary government, in other words, we voters factored that into [electing him as the president]," he said.

Panelo said Duterte is receiving information from intelligence agencies that terrorists and communist rebels are conspiring against the administration.

When asked how conflicting groups could unite against Duterte, Panelo said, "Why not?"

"Eh kung ako rin ang komunista, at ako'y terorista sasamahan ko yung mga kalaban ni Duterte para pabagsakin ang gobyerno," he added.

Dictatorial powers

In the same Unang Balita interview, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman reiterated that declaring a revolutionary government has no constitutional basis.

A revolutionary government, Lagman said, is a product of a successful uprising, similar to the one declared by late President Corazon Aquino after the EDSA People Power Revolution that forced the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos out of office.

"...Walang basehan sa Saligang Batas ang magdeklara ng revolutionary government, sapagkat ang revolutionary government ay resulta ng successful uprising laban sa isang sitting administration," Lagman said.

What the President wants, he said, is "to have dictatorial powers and to destroy our democratic institutions."

The President has on multiple occasions said he would declare a revolutionary government, beginning from the campaign trail to the presidential seat in 2016.

Last week, Duterte said he will declare a revolutionary government if his critics, particularly the left, continue their acts of "destabilization."

Lagman and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV had said that the supposed destabilization plot against Duterte was based on "imagined fears" and a "diversion" from allegations of ill-gotten wealth against him.

Other members of the opposition said a revolutionary government would be a "martial law in disguise." —Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/ALG, GMA News