Senators react to Duterte’s revolutionary gov’t threat


MANILA — Senators on Monday had mixed reactions to the threat of President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a revolutionary government if his critics’ attempts to destabilize the government push through.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III downplayed Duterte’s threat saying that it was “merely an idea.”

“It’s merely an idea at this point and I have no reason to be wary about it,” Sotto said in a statement.

Sotto, however, said that the President could have information not available to the public.

“The President has information not available to us. He probably feels the country’s stability could be in jeopardy that’s why he is thinking of ways to protect it just in case,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief said that the public should be accustomed to Duterte’s “impulsive statements” and did not believe that he would declare a revolutionary government anytime soon.

“By now, we should already be accustomed to PRRD’s impulsive statements. I don’t believe he will declare a revolutionary government — not now, not anytime during his term,” Lacson said.

“He knows we won’t and can’t do it. Having said that, there’s no point reacting negatively or otherwise to such and other similar pronouncements,” he added.

Minority Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, for his part, said that while his bloc disagreed with some policies of the administration, he said that a destabilization plot is not good for anyone.

Aquino asked Duterte not to equate dissent to destabilization and also asked the government to respect the various voices and opinions on contentious policies like the war on drugs.

He also warned that the establishment of a revolutionary government may only lead to increased political instability, a fragile democracy, and a weaker economy.

“Destabilization and threats of a revolutionary government will only weaken our democracy, our economy, and our fight against poverty,” Aquino said.

Aquino, meanwhile, expressed hope members of government can rise above politics and work together.