Duterte disowns calls for revolutionary government, blasts Robredo for criticizing admin

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte denied any connection with calls for a revolutionary government made by a group of his supporters.

During a speech addressed to Filipinos on Monday night, August 24, but aired on Tuesday, Duterte said he has nothing to do with the movement begun by the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee (MRRD-NECC).

"May naglalabas, revolutionary government tapos ako ang sinasabi na – wala akong pakialam niyan, wala akong kilala na mga tao na 'yan at hindi ko 'yan trabaho," said Duterte, speaking from Davao City.

(Calls for a revolutionary government are coming out and saying that I should – I'm not involved in that, I don't know those people and that's not my job.)

Duterte's ties to MRRD-NECC

Duterte claims not to know the people behind the revolutionary government proposal, but MRRD-NECC is one of the more prominent groups that helped his 2016 presidential campaign.

In fact, he ended up appointing some of its members to key positions in government.

John Castriciones, currently Agrarian Reform Secretary and formerly an interior and local government undersecretary, was secretary-general of MRRD-NECC.

At least two other Duterte appointees, Emily Padilla (former interior underscretary and now also in the agrarian reform department) and Jesus Hinlo, were also members.

Rappler has sought comment from Castriciones on his ties with MRRD-NECC but has not received a response as of writing.

Another Duterte appointee, interior assistant secretary Epimaco Densing III, was even caught on camera in 2017 calling for a revolutionary government during a rally.

It's not clear if the group in MRRD-NECC that made the recent calls for a revolutionary government still has ties to government officials.

But it was Duterte himself who, in 2017, said a revolutionary government is good for the country and a few months later, warned he would declare one if his critics are "about to take over the nation."

Warns Robredo against 'destroying' government

Right after distancing himself from calls for a revolutionary government, Duterte accused Vice President Leni Robredo of fueling the anger of citizens against his administration.

He was reacting to Robredo's speech earlier that day where the Vice President again criticized his government's response to the pandemic.

"At ito namang kay Leni that, in her ending statement, said that kung hindi ko raw gawin, ng gobyerno, gagawin ng tao. Well, sa panahong itong pandemic na medyo desperado ang mga tao tapos dagdagan niyo ng mga ganoon na wala naman kayong base, sana may maipakita kayo. Please do not add fuel to the fire," said Duterte.

(And as for Leni's ending statement where she said what I or my government can't do, the people should do instead, well in this time of pandemic where people are desperate and you add those remarks that are baseless, I hope you show proof. Please do not add fuel to the fire.)

"You will just destroy government. Huwag ninyo sirain ang gobyerno kasi masisira ang tao (Do not destroy government because you will destroy the people)," continued Duterte.

What did Robredo say?

The Vice President, in her 20-minute speech posted on Facebook on Monday, gave 11 concrete suggestions to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis. (READ: Robredo to Duterte gov't: Give poorest Filipino families P5,000 a month)

But in the last minutes of her speech, she criticized the Duterte government for failing to provide clear, decisive leadership amid the coronavirus health crisis.

It was likely these remarks that Duterte was referring to when he accused Robredo of adding "fuel to the fire":

"At kung walang mamumuno, tayo mismo ang hahakbang, tayo mismo ang magtutulungan, tayo mismo ang bibitbit sa isa't isa. Tayo mismo ang haharap, tayo mismo ang mangunguna, gagampanan natin ang anumang tungkulin para daigin ang anumang pagsubok, sa ngalan ng ating kapwa." 

(And if no one will lead us, we will do this ourselves; we will step up to the plate, we will help each other, carry one another. We ourselves will face this challenge, lead the charge; we will take it upon ourselves to do what needs to be done to overcome any obstacle, in the name of our fellowmen.)

Robredo also stressed in her speech that it is every Filipino's right to criticize government and demand good leadership from public officials. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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