MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte was only expressing an idea when he mentioned eyeing to change the name of the country from Philippines to The Republic of Maharlika, MalacaAang said on Tuesday.
"Tingnan natin how (Let's see how) how it evolves. He is expressing an idea again as usual, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
Although the President was just expressing an idea, Panelo said it is really up to Congress to enact a law to change the country's name.
Congress may enact a law that can change the name of the country and then submit it to the people for a referendum, Panelo told reporters in an interview after the briefing.
By proposing a bill, then magde-deliberate 'yun sa Congress 'di lahat ng mga players puwede niya imbitihan (then it will be deliberated in Congress so all players can be invited), he added.
Panelo said that charter change could also possibly allow the country to be renamed.
Some may argue, 'you can no longer change that kasi (because) it's in the Constitution.' Others may argue also that 'hindi kaya lang inilagay sa Constitution (it's not in the Constitution),' Panelo said.
So, kung palitan natin ng batas, automatically puwede mo ring palitan (But if we change the Constitution, you can also change the name), he added.
Asked why Duterte came up with the idea to rename the Philippines, Panelo said that it might be the President's way of asserting our national identity.
Well his reason is, the word 'maharlika' is a Malay word. And 'di ba, marami nang nag-criticize na iyong Philippines was named after King Philip (And remember, there were many criticizing the fact that Philippines was named after King Philip), Panelo said.
Panelo was referring to Philip II, king of Spain during the Spanish colonization of the country in the 16th century.
He said the President might have preferred the name Maharlika because it meant royalty.
On Monday, Duterte first suggested changing the country's name agreeing with former President Ferdinand Marcos' proposal.
Philippines because it was discovered by Magellan using the money of King Philip. Kaya pagdating ng u***, ginawang (So when he came here, he named it) Philippines. Pero okay na 'yan. Balang araw palitan natin (But that's okay. Maybe it can be changed someday), Duterte said in a speech in Buluan, Maguindanao.
Actually, tama si Marcos. Panahon ni Marcos, tama talaga si Marcos. Gusto niya palitan. Maharlika (Actually, Marcos was right. During Marcos' time, he was really right. He wanted to change it to Maharlika). The Republic of Maharlika because Maharlika is a Malay word and it means more of a concept of serenity and peace, he added.
Panelo, however, said that it was not Marcos who first came up with the idea to rename the country to Maharlika but could not remember who did.
Actually, that's not Mr. Marcos' idea. I forgot the name of that person. But Mr. Marcos at that time welcomed that idea, but it was not his original (idea), Panelo said.
Panelo also cited how former Batasang Pambansa member Eddie Ilarde filed Parliamentary Bill 195 in 1978, which sought to change the country's name to Maharlika. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency