Duterte: ‘I will abolish congress’
Tough-talking Davao City mayor in Cebu as local initiative to push for shift to federal form of government gets going
I will abolish Congress and run a revolutionary form of government if I become President.”
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday made this statement as he laid out a “hypothetical scenario” in a speech before a group of Cebuanos who are pushing for a shift to a federal form of government.
Duterte arrived in Cebu City yesterday to attend yesterday’s induction of officers of the Federal Movement for a Better Philippines at the Sacred Heart Center along D. Jakosalem St. in barangay Day-as.
While the tough-talking mayor reiterated his earlier pronouncements that he is not interested in gunning for the presidency, he spoke about his “vision if he were placed by God and the universe” to lead the country.
“Do not appeal to me. I do not need it. I do not want it … but if the universe conspires to put me in the presidency, if I cannot attain real change within six months to a year then I will declare a revolutionary government and close Congress,” he told an audience of about a hundred people which include former Cebu Gov. Emilio “Lito” Osmena.
The Cebu-based federal movement is led by president Alexander Bacalla. The officers include: Ortillano Repollo and Eduardo Adlawan, vice-presidents; Vincent Isles, secretary; Grace Gemino, treasurer and Vicente Gambito, auditor.
Among the prominent Cebu personalities in the event were: Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy, former vice governor Enrique Rama, Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Sesante and Cebu City Councilor Lea Japson.
Flying in from Mindanao where the federalism push was kick-started were: Bukidnon Gov. Jose Maria Zubiri, Surigao City Mayor Mitoy Matugas and former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Reuben Canoy, the acknowledged brains behind the federal initiative.
Duterte, who traces his family’s roots to Danao City in northern Cebu, said his radical measures includes a call to make all high-ranking police and military officials to resign in a bid to curb the large-scale corruption in government.
He said his “hypothetical” governance map is intended to warn those who are or are planning to push him to stand for the presidency in the 2016 elections.
Yesterday’s induction ceremony followed the convening last month of the federal movement’s Council of Leaders at the Marco Polo Hotel in Davao City.
Canoy had said that Duterte is emerging to be the best person to become the voice of the federal movement.
“We need a leader and it’s Mayor Duterte who has emerged with the way he has managed Davao. All of us agree that he is the best spokesman, if not the leader of the Council of Leaders,” he told reporters after emerging from the Davao meeting in early September.
Commenting on Canoy’s statement, Duterte said he would never head a federal government if ever it pushes through out of delicadeza as he wants to dismiss insinuations that his support for a federal form of government was only because of his “political ambitions” for a higher position.
“Ingon nila na ako ang pinaka-projected nga opisyal sa Mindanao. I told them I don’t want the position. I don’t want to be turned into the big man here. It might be misconstrued as me having an ambition for something else,” he said.
In his speech in Cebu yesterday, he said the push for federalism is a more “peaceful process” as it does not advocate the separation of territories.
“Let’s go for a federal system para usa na lang ta ka linya [so that we will only have one line]. This is for our children and so that they will have peace in the future,” he said.
In the aftermath of the Davao meeting, Duterte said he believes that the Mindanao problem can only be ended by a “federal solution.”
“We are all familiar with the political, social and cultural terrain of Mindanao. The only way to attain peace in Mindanao and maybe throughout the land is to go federal. Itong Muslim insurgency sa Mindanao needs a federal solution,” he said.
“Walang problema ang Cebu kasi gusto rin nila. Sina Lito Osmena have been talking about it openly. This is really a peaceful process. It does not include severance of ties by force and I will not of course agree to dismember the country,” he said.
Duterte said he initially joined the federal movement due to the unequal distribution of wealth in the provinces, with majority of the government’s resources going to Luzon and the Metro Manila.
Due to this, he said he has never entered Malacañang and asked the president to fund his projects in Davao.
“We give the same contribution, we share the same sadness but the money is with them,” he said.
“Kung mahutdan ug supply sa pagkaon sa Pilipinas, ang supply gikan sa Davao di nako pagawson. Pwede nako tagaan ang Cebu pero sa Manila, bahala na sila ug mamatay na sila,” said the mayor.
(If the Philippines runs out of food, I will not allow the supply from Davao to get out. I can send some to Cebu, but Manila, I don’t mind if they die of hunger.)
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