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SWS poll shows substantial support for revolutionary government

WHILE the Social Weather Stations downplayed this particular survey’s results, and didn’t even issue its usual press release on it, its December 2017 poll found substantial support for a revolutionary government, if ever President Duterte were to declare one.

Asked whether they would “agree or “disagree” in case Duterte proclaims a revolutionary government, 31 percent of the SWS respondents replied in the affirmative, while 39 percent disagreed. Significant is the fact that 30 percent responded that they were undecided.

The 8 percentage points difference is small, and could be easily closed, if one considers that in a revolutionary government, the state would monopolize media, so that it would likely be able to convince much of that 30 percent undecided to support the revolutionary government. 

In Mindanao, the SWS poll showed, more respondents — 38 percent — would support a revolutionary government, compared to the 21 percent who wouldn’t. Is that because Mindanao has been under martial law for a year, with almost no one protesting against it, and with peace and order there improving?

More Filipinos in fact, based on the SWS poll, would support a revolutionary government rather than a move to amend the Constitution. The June survey of Pulse Asia showed that only 18 percent of respondents think that the Constitution should be amended.

This mirrors the SWS findings in several polls since 1997 that there has been little support for changing the Charter. This is probably because it had been exposed in 1997 as a scheme of President Fidel Ramos — Cory Aquino’s anointed — to run for a second term.

Opposition to changing the Charter has also been recently strengthened because the Yellows have been actively campaigning against it, feeling paranoid that Duterte like Ramos would amend it so he could run for another term.

The 18 percent of respondents supporting Charter change is nearly half of the 31 percent supporting the establishment of a revolutionary government.

That most Filipinos support Duterte’s establishment of a revolutionary government is indicated by the results of two questions the SWS posed in its December 2017 survey.

First, it asked respondents “if it is possible to have a revolutionary government under the current Constitution.” The SWS question was strange, since a “revolutionary government” by definition junks the existing Constitution, which is why it is called “revolutionary.”

Still, what the SWS in effect asked its respondents is whether Duterte’s declaration of a revolutionary government is constitutional or not. Nearly half — 48 percent — replied that it is “possible to have a revolutionary government under the present Philippine Constitution.” Only 27 percent said it is not possible.

The implication is that nearly half of all Filipinos (i.e., assuming SWS sampling is scientific) think there would be nothing wrong with Duterte/s declaring a revolutionary government since it is constitutional.

Second, the SWS asked respondents “whether President Duterte has a plan to change the present government into a new government that he likes.” An overwhelming 63 percent replied that he does have such a plan and only 18 percent think he doesn’t

Couple that with finding the recent poll results that 65 percent of Filipinos (SWS, June 2018) are satisfied with his performance and 87 percent (Pulse Asia) have a “big trust” in him, and a logical conclusion is that most Filipinos trust his plan to change government to one he likes.

Duterte won’t have to look far for a model for a revolutionary government. The Thai military in May 2014 ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and set up a revolutionary government it called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). This military junta was chaired by the Royal Thai Army’s commander in chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, appointed Prime Minister by the council, to give it a semblance of normalcy. The NCPO drafted a new constitution and promulgated it in 2017, which called for a transition to electoral democracy.

Prayut announced in March that elections would be held in February next year, the sixth-promised polling date. The US and the West of course condemned the 2014 coup and demanded that the junta immediately restore electoral democracy. President Trump in October 2017 warmly welcomed Prime Minister Prayut to the White House in his official visit there.

I bet very few people here know that Thailand has been under a revolutionary government since 2014. Thailand’s GDP per capita has continued to grow since 2014, and stands at $6,126, measured in 2010 US dollars. Ours is about half of that, $2,891.


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