Yes, many people believe that the concept of a revolutionary government is unconstitutional. That explains the somewhat “hush-hush” treatment people do with this idea. Nowhere in the 1987 constitution do we see any such term mentioned, hence, unconstitutional. We ask– what is truly unlawful about a revolutionary government? Is it the very idea itself or the means towards its establishment that the law considers unconstitutional?
When we say revolutionary government or “revgov”, we mean a government which pursues a revolution as a means of changing societal, economic and political structures. Being termed a government gives it a legitimate mantle since we define a government as an organized political entity established to manage and realize the aspirations and needs of a particular group of people living in a specific territory and exercising power over these people.
How about when we append the term “revolution” with government, will it then make it unlawful? No. Revolutions are just processes by which a particular thing transforms or shifts into another form or level, usually a higher one. Change is no evil. It is as natural as the wind and as predictable as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
When we then merge the two concepts together to form one single, and meaningful term, we then mean revgov as a legitimate political organization committed towards managing a process by which societal structures are transformed to make it more responsive to the needs of the people.
Hence, revolutionary governments may actually be those being managed by elected ones in a parliamentary elections, not entirely those established after the fall of another. Or it may yet mean, a temporary period of time when a government declares itself as a promoter of revolutionary change, such as what governments in Southern America did in the past.
Why is this concept being opposed by many especially here in the Philippines? Two reasons: first, a flawed understanding and adherence to constitutionalism and second, the fear of power being consolidated and exercised by a single group of individuals without the proper mandate from the people.
What is the proper mandate? The mandate I am referring to here is thru elections, as this is the only political concept accepted by most Filipinos. What if elected officials themselves decide to create a “revolutionary government”— will it then be illicit and unconstitutional?
If we are to base it with our present constitution, yes, and it could actually be termed as a rebellion which is punishable by reclusion perpetua under our penal code. Legally, this is entirely forbidden. However, if we are to ask Locke, Hobbes, Paine, Kant and even John Stuart Mill, we find that it is well within the rights of people to conduct a democratic revolution in times when the Republic is itself, in danger of collapsing, due to the acts of its present administrators.
Revolutionary governments are actually liberal ideas based on a very strict philosophical application of liberal democracy. It is not a concept that emerges from the extreme Right of the political spectrum, but an application based on the philosophical theory of liberalism.