Duterte's threat of revolutionary war not made on a whim but for enemies of the state - Panelo
President Rodrigo Duterte's warning to declare a "revolutionary war or a revolutionary government" if pushed to the wall was not made on a whim.
In a statement, Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel, said this should be a notice to the enemies of the state.
"Contrary to the statement of the opposition and other critics, PRRD (Duterte) was not threatening the people on a whim when he said if he is pushed to the wall he would declare a revolutionary war or a revolutionary government," he said.
"If the statement came across as a threat, it was not made on a whim but brought about by a series of acts committed against the people," the spokesman added.
Among those acts include the bold entry of illegal drugs in the country despite the war against narcotics, the unmitigated corruption in the bureaucracy and the outrageous bureaucratic red tape that has stymied government projects resulting in delayed services to the people, he said.
He also cited the seeming impunity of criminals to do their nefarious trade; the onerous contract entered into by the government that prohibited it from performing government action protective of the interest of the people; the attacks and ambushes of the communist New People's Army against military, police personnel and local government units and their continuing extortion activities; the continuing threat of terrorists that endangers the security of the state; and other acts of its enemies that imperil the safety of the nation.
"The threat, if it is a threat, is not against the people but precisely against their enemies, the criminals, the people manning the illegal drug industry, the corrupt bureaucrats, the greedy politicians, the communist rebels, foreign and local terrorists, and other enemies of the state," Panelo said.
Duterte, in a speech in Palawan, threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a revolutionary war if he was pushed to the wall. He made the threat after opposition Senator Franklin Drilon said the government could not just cancel contracts.
Duterte earlier ordered the review of all the government contracts and cancel those which could be found onerous on the part of the state.
The directive was made after learning that the government has been paying over P3 billion to Maynilad Water Services, Inc. after losing from an arbitration case.
Citing Section 4, Article 2 of the Constitution, Panelo said it is the prime duty of the government to serve and protect the people.
"This constitutional command is for the President, as head of government, to serve and protect the people. When the very democratic institutions are being used to the detriment of the people and have become illusory for the people's interest; when their safety is imperiled, when the territorial integrity is at stake, and when the enemies of the republic are bent on bringing it down, then it becomes the constitutional duty of the President to use the powers reposed to him by the Constitution to quell the attacks on the people and to save the state," he said.
"The Constitution is not without the appropriate provisions he can use to serve and protect the citizenry and the republic. The President's narrative on the revolutionary war is an expression of frustration and at the same time to put the transgressors of the law and the purveyors of the status quo on notice that he will not sit idly and watch their transgressions unabated and that he will exercise powers the Constitution bestowed him," Panelo stressed.
"The Constitution is a living instrument, the dynamics of which can not be under stated, whose framers would have not intended the President to have without recourse in confronting any exigency that places the people's interest in jeopardy and their safety in mortal danger," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS