Duterte the revolutionary: Not RevGov but RevPres TMT

Duterte the revolutionary: Not RevGov but RevPres Featured

IN the front pages of newspapers this week, the call for a revolutionary government (RevGov) threatened to dislodge Covid-19 from the headlines. In social media, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s shock troops, the Duterte Diehard Supporters or DDS, echoed this challenge. While the Deegong himself “…shunned calls for the establishment of a revolutionary government, saying he has nothing to do with it” (The Manila Times, Aug. 26, 2020). He issued this statement after the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee, or MRRD-NECC, led by a discredited nondescript politician, met at the Clark Freeport. This group is a remnant of those that campaigned for PRRD in 2016, probably left out in the division of spoils. By now PRRD must have already distributed sinecures, leaving crumbs for those in the fringes.

In 2017, a year into his regime, PRRD must have realized the magnitude of the nation’s predicaments and his incapability to wade through the morass fortified only by a provincial mindset, albeit fashioned out of his successful experience as the mayor of a major city. The enormity of engaging problems on the national sphere — especially his preferred fields of expertise, illegal drugs and bureaucratic corruption — require a certain sophistication not provided by a successful though limited street crimes and corruption experience of three decades as a local executive. Going through the democratic process and adhering to the rule of law was proving to be cumbersome work for Davao’s erstwhile action man. And on the national and international public domain, the opposition supported by the formal mass media held the high ground. The temptation to cut corners to eradicate illegal drugs — preventing the country’s slide into a narcostate — must have been overpowering. And he did take short cuts. His international image was in tatters with his war against drugs metamorphosing into a human rights embarrassment — while catching the attention of the International Criminal Court.

The DDS, sensing the anguish of their patron began to call for a RevGov to precipitate a faster pace of pagbabago through the revision of the Constitution, a campaign promise, which the Deegong’s own subalterns in both houses of Congress managed to circumvent.

But the President never did succumb to the enticements of irresponsible faux revolutionaries to declare a RevGov — a coup d’état against himself. But it is also understandable that after decades of deficits in our democracy and governance, the appearance of a populist president possessing a language that resonated with the poor, the suffering and the disenfranchised, was a welcome phenomenon. And their demands for change were growing. The president who promised reforms and the dismantling of the structures underpinning the systemic depravities of governance by constitutional revisions couldn’t deliver. Thus, the growing cry for taking the ultimate shortcut — RevGov. As I wrote in my past columns, “Revolutionary government is the raison d’être to fast-track the legitimate desire of a large portion of the Filipino population to free themselves from the shackles of poverty, injustice and a host of problems now identified as a product of an anomalous and perverted oligarchic-driven unitary system of governance. A prescription to these ailments is the revision of the 1987 Constitution and a shift to a parliamentary-federal form of government, one that candidate Duterte championed, which catapulted him to power.” The last four years negated these moves as the President himself refuted these ideals and surrendered the high ground reverting to the expedient and pragmatic, dropping the idea of reforms via the constitutional revisions route.

Although PRRD’s few public appearances show him to be physically weak, he still has the full use of his faculties to make decisions. And contrary to speculations of those that may not wish him well — he is definitely not dying. And the following decisions he must take are no less than revolutionary.

Covid-19 and PH economy
In my May 27 column, we had only 696 deaths and 10,463 cases and we were in our 12th week of lockdowns. We were running P276.3-billion losses and projecting P2.482-trillion losses before this Covid-19 would be over. We were on track for a 6.8-percent unemployment rate. The economy was in a tailspin exacerbated by the “urong sulong” decrees of ECQ to MECQ to GCQ back to MECQ, which was so inane. Today, we are on our 25th week with 209,544 cases, and 3,999 deaths. I wrote then: “These are the moral choices Duterte cannot bluster his way out of, unlike his histrionics, cursing God and the pope and disparaging women. This moral dilemma Duterte must confront will define with finality his presidency and his legacy. His 80-percent public approval rating will not amount to a ‘jug of warm spit.’ This is no longer a matter of political will. As the economy plunges deeper into recession, he will have to choose. Is he prepared to sacrifice 100,000 souls for the good of the 105 million?” This, Sir, is what a revolutionary president (RevPres) must face up to!

PhilHealth plunder
It was revealed in the recent Senate committee hearings that P154 billion were lost to various types of fraud, including reimbursements for “ghost” dialysis patients, overpayments, false claims and “upcasing” of common ailments. For many years there has existed a “mafia” of its executive committee composed of the highest officials, defrauding the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and sapping the lifeblood of the taxpayer.

PhilHealth arranged for overpaying “ghost claims” to hospitals with fake data on diseases (ghost dialysis) and claims, amounting to P15.4 billion from 2014 to 2018. There were mysterious payments to dead patients claiming reimbursements.

This PhilHealth fiasco is an albatross hanging on Duterte’s head. Cut it off, Sir! This is a decision for a revolutionary president.

Other crimes and misdemeanors
There has been a litany of corruption that has plagued this government since the declaration of his “Duterte Doctrine” stating that he will “…not tolerate any corruption in his administration, and he will dismiss from office any of his men [and women] who are tainted even by a ‘whiff of corruption’; and he is ready to sack any public officials even on a basis of false allegations of corruption.” (Inquirer.net, March 30, 2017)

This, Sir, reflects the resolve of a revolutionary president!

But since then, rampant smuggling at the Bureau of Customs manned by Duterte’s ex-military choices persist, not to mention the slippages at the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Even at this tragic time, the Social Amelioration Fund was not spared of controversies and anomalies, including reports from the Department of the Interior and Local Government DILG of 886 local government units, mayors, councilors and barangay officials dipping their dirty little fingers into the monies intended for the poor beneficiaries.

Except for those mentioned above, we will not meantime expect Duterte to even bite more than he can chew; uphold the rights of our fishermen being trampled by the Chinese bullies in the West Philippine Seas; nor expect PRRD to palliate the decades-old insurgency; and mitigate the preventable terrorism in Jolo, Sulu, reportedly resulting from internecine conflict between what Duterte fondly call “my police and my soldiers.”

RevGov is a cry of desperation. We want PRRD to succeed as a Reform President. Short of this, we want him to be a President acting no less than a revolutionary. A RevPres!

Sir, it’s your call!000
Read 163 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 September 2020 11:12
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