DILG official: 'Freedom of expression' in call for revolutionary gov't

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that his push for a revolutionary government or "RevGov" under President Rodrigo Duterte was part of his "freedom of expression." 

In an interview with ANC on Friday, September 7, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III clarified that the DILG "had nothing to do with" a gathering in Butuan City where he made the statement pushing for a revolutionary government.

Asked to reconcile his push for a resolutionary government and the fact that he was a DILG official, Densing said,  "That’s part of our freedom of expression."

He said it was the group Mula sa Masa Duterte Movement that spearheaded the gathering. Densing serves as honorary chairman of the group.

Densing claimed that his speech during the gathering "was about federalism and participative governance" and the topic of RevGov "only came out only during the interview." 

He added that his opinion is "part of our freedom of expression," and explained that the campaign for a revolutionary government is "another way" for the people to ask the President to accept it.

Densing has long been campaigning for a "RevGov" as a transition to federalism. He even attended a "RevGov" rally in November 2017.

The DILG issued a separate statement on Saturday, September 8, to distance itself from Densing's statements. 

"The DILG is not leading a campaign to shift to federalism through a revolutionary government that will allegedly upend the entire system of government and create a 'People’s Council' that will keep President Rodrigo Duterte in power until this new system is in place," it sa

The DILG said  Densing's call for a revolutionary govenrment was "his personal opinion." 

"He was speaking as honorary chairman of the Mula sa Masa Duterte Movement and not for the DILG," said Acting Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. 

Año said the department's official position is "to inform and advocate for federalism" as proposed by the Consultative Committee in its draft federal constitution.

“We are advocating for federalism through constitutional means. The 1987 Constitution has clear provisions on how a change in the system of government can be effected. We abide by these provisions and will see to it that any change in the system of government goes through constitutional processes,” he said.

The DILG has been conducting roadshows across the country to campaign for federalism, "not calling for a revolutionary government."

The department also clarified that only accredited civil society organizations "may use the DILG's name in its federalism advocacy activities." Michael Bueza/Rappler.com