Duterte a no-show at pro-government rallies

By Edith Regalado

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Duterte was a no show at pro-revolutionary government rallies that marked the 154th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio yesterday.

More than 35,000 people gathered for the rally at the Crocodile Park here, but Duterte was absent despite having returned to the city for the weekend.

The President earlier reiterated his assurance that he would not declare a revolutionary government amid mounting calls for it by his supporters.

“I see no reason to really declare a revolutionary government,” Duterte said, adding that he may only do so “when the Republic of the Philippines is dying.”

Stressing that “some people just don’t listen well,” the Chief Executive pointed out that his statement was taken out of context because it was said with a predicate – that the Philippines, like a ship, is capsizing.

“Remember, there is a predicate which is the basis of my statement. You listen first. If the country is like a ship about to capsize, then that would be the time maybe I would declare. Other than that, I do not see any reason to declare a revolutionary government,” the President added.

He said maybe people are calling for it because of corruption in government.

Aside from the one at the Crocodile Park, pro-revolutionary government rallies were also held at Davao’s Freedom Park, in Metro Manila and in Butuan City.

Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque slammed Vice President Leni Robredo for continuously using the issue against the Chief Executive in a bid to snowball protests against the administration. 

“With due respect to the Vice President, I do not see what is alarming because the President has, time and again, said that he will only resort to a revolutionary government if the government is already down and dying…but this is not what is happening now,” Roque pointed out. 

Duterte doused earlier this week reports that he is keen on staying beyond the six-year term limit set by the Constitution, saying he is even ready to cut short his term in case Congress works on a change in the Constitution that will pave the shift to federalism.

“The President is the constitutional president, he won an overwhelming lead over his rivals and he enjoys unprecedented popularity. So, the President has, time and again, dismissed the idea of a revolutionary government,” Roque reiterated.

“While it is true that there are some of the president’s allies who want a revolutionary government, he appreciates the suggestion but has repeatedly said there is no basis, there is no need for a revolutionary government for now,” he added.

Roque appealed to both supporters and detractors to stop the issue and “move on” from the topic.

Earlier in the day, he appealed to those who were joining pro- and anti-government demonstrations to conduct their rallies in a peaceful and orderly manner.

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