RevGov – the end game

RevGov – the end game Featured

LAST week, a letter addressed to the President purportedly signed by the AFP Chief of Staff and the major service commanders edited by an eminent newspaper columnist, Carmen (Chit) Pedrosa, was circulated in social media. I must presume by now, this has reached the President’s ear.

It is supposed to be a letter that the President has been waiting for presumably to give him the raison d’etre to act. This letter did not mince words “…there is enough ground already to dissolve Congress and declare RevGov…”.

Although spreading in social media people are skeptical that the military’s highest echelon would be so insolent as to address the president openly, almost egging him to act outside the Constitution. This institution after all has been assiduous in following constitutional mandates after its shameless foray as Marcos stooge during the Martial Law regime. Since then, it has acquitted itself well. Chances are this is a fake letter. So, I called Chit Pedrosa, a colleague since the administration of GMA when we were both recruited in the 2005 Consultative Commission (ConCom) to amend the 1987 Constitution. Chit and I are both federal-parliamentarians. The 2005 draft document has been improved over the decade and now published as a pamphlet, The Centrist Proposals. Although Chit did not confirm or deny her role in the mentioned AFP letter, she is aware and claimed to be sympathetic to it. She agrees with the tenor.

At this level, the sentiments behind the call for RevGov may be a legitimate reflection of people’s frustration and near desperation on overcoming the challenges confronting Philippine society today. The expectations of the Filipinos were heightened upon the appearance on the scene of a maverick Promdi. The Deegong, as a successful Davao mayor was perceived to be the fresh face from down south to replicate his successful formula to the rest of the country. It hasn’t work out that way.

He was no match against the very system he wanted to change while working within it. Or at least, the people he brought with him to the bureaucracy were never able to break themselves from the mold of a prosaic mindset.

Except for a few, their level of managerial sophistication has not matched the exigencies of their office. This is partly also the fault of the Deegong himself as after two decades of local governance with little familiarity with global politics, his intimates naturally were the only ones allowed to populate his comfort zone. It was therefore logical for the president to prefer his peers: classmates, schoolmates, childhood friends, barkadas and like-minded local elites. Few were recruited to handle sensitive posts outside the community of his true believers. But the president is an exceptionally fast learner and has employed his acute native intuition to navigate through the country’s complex political environment.

Thus, his obligatory but stressful interactions with the elite and the oligarchy. Both are suspicious of each other as neither sprung from the same cultural mold with similar perspectives. But the former must work with the latter as he has the political will and, coupled with his control over the state sanctioned power, has the potential to destroy, given time. But time is not exactly in the President’s favor. They can sit him out on his legal term limits, as they did over the decades for all those elected to power that purport to reform the system the oligarchy has exploited for itself.

And the Deegong is most relentless. He showed this when the state’s teeth were bared against Ongpin and the Prietos; thus, reinforcing the oligarchy’s determined opposition against his initiatives to bring about systemic change through constitutional revisions and political restructuring.

Spearheaded by the oligarchy and its allies among the political dynasties, the opposition and quislings in the bureaucracy, they have managed to stop the Deegong in his tracks. He is now forced to work closely within the system, through the perverted electoral exercise that is decidedly stacked against him.

Let me again quote the AFP Major Commander’s letter to PRRD:

“…recent events have placed us in a quandary as those who, like us are pledged to abide by the Constitution,
have beyond doubt been the ones habitually undermining and making a mockery of it even while hiding behind it to escape prosecution.

…Even more curiously, despite the many weaknesses in our electoral process that have been exposed, not a single member of Congress has made a single proposal for electoral reform…”

Mr. President, we fully understand that it is not in your nature to ask us to transgress the Constitution we have all sworn to uphold. However, as our Commander-in-Chief we are obliged to present to you our concerns… We fear that without timely and decisive action, not only will everything we have fought worked hard and died for will come to naught, threatening the future of our children and future generations.”

An option is presented to the president that is double-edged. If he employs the drastic method of declaring revolutionary government, the risk of quick collapse and quick death of democracy as we know it is imminent. If it fails.

This is the downside of the proposition. But to some, this may be preferable to the slow strangulation that the elite and the oligarchy have been applying to the body politic that has caused grave disparity between the “have and the have-nots” and in the process has institutionalized poverty.

The upside to RevGov, if successful could unshackle the Filipino from the decades of stark poverty, deprivation and injustice. But the threat alone will put sense into the oligarchy as they can’t afford to lose all. The imminent danger could precipitate real concessions and negotiations as the oligarchy could be destroyed, and a new governance paradigm may emerge. The Deegong knows how to play the zero-sum game. And this is the ultimate!

But would RevGov be sustained by the likes of the Deegong? Does he have the temperament and the moral spine to carry it through? And is virtue a precondition to a RevGov leadership? DU30 is 74 and tired. He is old, maybe narcissistic, a trait that will help him contemplate on his legacy. Nothing defeats a man’s biases better than a glimpse of the specter of his mortality.000
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