The friction always arises once the revolutionaries win and become “the establishment”.
The Duterte revolution may have been won via the ballot, but it was a revolution nonetheless, with all the concomitant trappings and dynamics. The difficulty faced now by supporters is the same one faced by all groups after winning. The looming question is “what now?”
It was easy to know what we were against. Ineffective and callous government was the base grievance. We were sick of Yolanda, SAF 44, PDAF/DAP and the like. A systematic oppression via a flawed constitution that limited investment and jobs was also a root complaint for many.
It is almost inevitable now that people will want different things. The differences between the winning factions will become pronounced. They will start to disagree on how far the revolution should go. It is probably entropy that some people will now think the revolution has not gone far enough, that we need to root out the old and start with a clean slate.
Who does not want that? Most people recognize the quickest way to get all the reforms done in one fell swoop is via a revolutionary government (or RevGov as I have coined it). Even Duterte has acknowledged this as the short cut solution.
Unfortunately, in the real world there are always costs to starting over. Especially for countries. And the usual problem with shortcuts is that the devil in the details always comes out. These are my concerns:
1) If RevGov is declared we will have economic and political uncertainty. The markets will crash. The peso will plummet. Foreign investors will keep away.
2) Nobody knows exactly what will happen. There is no one coherent plan on how long RevGov will last, or even exactly what is entailed. We cannot even handle the many moving part of running an efficient MRT system and we think we can handle the dynamics of a RevGov?
3) There will be a sufficient number of Filipinos who will be against it, seeing it as a return to authoritarian rule. And then what will you do? Fire on the people at EDSA? Start throwing dissenters in jail? Remember during Cory’s RevGov, the Philippines saw multiple coup attempts. The prospect of civil war is real.
Duterte himself has said he is not the one to do a RevGov. An extra-constitutional move is seldom palatable to a lawyer. In my view, he just dangles the threat of RevGov in front of critics in the same way the cat teases mice. We know Duterte; he likes to threaten and shock.
Besides, Duterte has already laid out a plan to address what ails us. The constitution will be amended to open up the economy and create new jobs. Federalism will decentralize government, create competition amongst local leaders, and promote peace in Mindanao. It is my hope that a switch to parliamentary will also happen to make government more efficient and to encourage the establishment of real political parties, based on ideology.
Ultimately, that is why I support Duterte. He recognizes the problems at their base. If these structural fixes are done, we will have a chance to break out of this vicious circle of ineffective government, low investment, unemployment, and poverty.
My support ends if power is taken extra-constitutionally. We have matured beyond that. To fall into that mode again is to take several steps back into Banana Republic statehood. I understand people’s frustration and impatience. They see the game is stacked against change. The true fight, however, lies in sticking to the rules and matching wits, not in tossing the board game out of pique.
Have we even fully exhausted the means available to combat malicious reporting by some new personalities and politicians? The President has yet to file any libel cases to my knowledge. No measures have been taken to hold certain media outlets accountable for what they print. Do you think we are drowing in noise and partisanship? There are perfectly legal and creative ways to address that.
Let us stick to the path of moderation. The middle path is still where I believe the bulk of support lies. RevGov is already an extreme position. And that road to extremism is dark and full of terror.