No more denials but a virtual go-signal was given by President Rodrigo Duterte for like-minded supporters to continue working out a “revolutionary government.”
President Duterte is espousing again his belief a “revolutionary government” could be the best solution to solve the systemic problem of the government in fighting the twin evils on graft and corruption.
And this renewed pitch for “revolutionary government” comes at a time even as we are in the middle of fighting the spread of the deadly 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) contagion.
President Duterte was joking perhaps again – I hope – when he raised from out of the blue the idea of putting up a revolutionary government during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). The President mentioned the “revolutionary government” while talking to his new appointee to head the graft-ridden Philippine Health Insurance (PhilHealth) Corp.
At the IATF meeting held at Malacanang Monday night, the President officially announced the appointment of Dante Gierran as the new president and chief executive officer of the PhilHealth. Gierran, who also hails from Davao City like the President, first served the Duterte administration as director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) until he retired from the government service last February this year.
A certified public accountant and a lawyer, Gierran rose through the ranks at the NBI before President Duterte picked Gierran to head the agency while the latter was then NBI Region XI in Southern Mindanao. Gierran was replaced by another NBI career official Eric Distor who succeeded him as officer-in-charge. Gierran vouched for Distor as “not corrupt” and “he is doing right” in reply to the President’s direct query about his NBI successor. Distor might finally get this post on permanent capacity.
Gierran took over from erstwhile PhilHealth chief retired Gen. Ricardo Morales who was forced to resign last week, citing his need to undergo treatment for his cancer ailment. The resignation of Morales came following discovery of latest multi-billion peso anomalies by alleged “mafia” inside the state-run health insurance agency.
The President wants Gierran to start the clean-up at the PhilHealth. For starters, he directed Gierran to reshuffle the agency. Citing the actuarial studies that shows the reserve funds of PhilHealth have been depleted by so much corruption through the years, the President ordered Gierran. “So you must send these guys to prison kasi problema iyan.”
“The next two years will be devoted to fight against corruption,” the President vowed.
Although already on the last two years of his term of office at Malacanang, Mayor Duterte is seemingly grasping on straws to fulfill his 2016 presidential campaign promises to shift to federal form of government, rid the bureaucracy from graft and corruption, and end the drug menace in the Philippines. These are same issues and concerns President Duterte took up digressing from the anti-COVID agenda measures of the IATF.
The “revolutionary government” talks cropped up a few weeks back when a group calling themselves as the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Committee (MRRD-NECC) issued a letter-invite to Philippine National Police (PNP) Gen. Archie Gamboa last Aug. 17 that went viral on social media. Let us just call them simply as RevGov group that openly sought to discuss with the PNP chief but who spurned their proposal. As envisioned by this RevGov group, President Duterte will head a revolutionary government until Dec. 31, 2021, to be followed by an election under a new Constitution for a federal form of government.
As previously postulated by this corner, President Duterte has created his own monster, wittingly, or perhaps unwittingly. This RevGov group, I surmised, was perhaps encouraged by the presidential rants last Aug.2 also during the IATF meeting over the display of defiance of government health care workers pressing higher salary and hazard pay amid COVID-19 pandemic.
“Next time, huwag ninyo akong parinigin ng revolution. Naku, Diyos ko. Iyan ang mas delikado sa COVID. Eh kung mag-revolution kayo, you will give me the free ticket to stage a counter-revolution. How I wish you would do it,” President Duterte fumed.
However, on Aug. 24 while also presiding the IATF meeting held in Davao City, Mayor Duterte publicly disowned any hands or being behind this RevGov group even if they espouses his campaign promise to change the present presidential system of the Philippines into federal government.
One week later, President Duterte made a new twist of his previous declaration: “Sabi ko nag iyong revolutionary government should not be discussed in sub rosa. It should be discussed publicly, including the military. They should be able to say what…If the average – if the troops do not want it, they should say so and explain.Eh kung mayroon rin silang gustong pagbabago, then let us hear them out.”
“Kasi walang end ang corruption, left and right talaga maski saan,” the President deplored. “Tulungan ninyo ako kasi Kauai – kawawa ang bayan. Naawa ako talaga sa bayan ko. Believe me, my heart bleeds for my country. Iyong unabated corruption and with no end in sight and another election coming up and you see the same old faces there. So the same old bata-bata (system), kung sino iyong mga tao nila, wala. Patay,” the President rued.
These grounds he recited are certainly valid, and noble if I may add. But what would a “revolutionary government” achieve at this time, with COVID-19 pandemic to boot? As the President himself noted, the next presidential elections in May, 2022 is just around the corner.
In his press briefing yesterday, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque clarified the Chief Executive remains committed to his being the duly elected leader of a constitutional government. Roque further dismissed suspicions the President is testing the waters again.
But how else would you call it? At least, the RevGov plot is no longer a sub-rosa. So the secret is out.
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