By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said he really had no problem with the rich people of the country as long as they have a social conscience but renewed his warning to go after them if they take advantage of Filipinos.
Duterte made the statement amid his rants against the owners of Maynilad and Manila Water, saying he was not afraid of sending billionaires to jail over their onerous contracts with the government.
In a speech in Cotabato, Duterte said there was one thing the rich people in the country could do to avoid his wrath.
“Ang may problema dito sa Pilipinas ngayon, ‘yung mga mayaman. ‘Yung mga mayayaman na walang hiya (The ones with the problem in the Philippines right now are the shameless rich people),” he said.
“You know, [if] you have social conscience, wala kayong problema sa akin (you won’t have a problem with me),” he added.
Duterte recently called out property developer DMCI Holdings, Inc. Chairman Isidro Consunji for weighing in on the water concession issue instead of addressing his problem with tenants of his condominium in Davao City.
Parts of the DMCI-owned condominium Ecoland 4000 collapsed following a strong quake that shook Davao City last October.
According to the President, he would also seek an audit of all DMCI buildings if the company would continue to refuse to pay the residents.
“If you do not come to terms with the people that you prejudiced, I will not allow you to even construct a building, not even a post because I will question the integrity of your company,” Duterte said in an interview with ABS-CBN.
“I will order an audit of all your buildings and all the violations you have committed. Huwag mo ako pilitin. Sabi ko sa iyo, mayaman na kayo tama na (Don’t force me. You’re already rich so you better stop),” he added.
In his speech in Cotabato, Duterte said he was cursing out the elite in public because he was only looking out for the welfare of the Filipino people.
He, however, claimed that it was the elite who always had the final say on almost anything.
“Hindi ako galit sa mga mayaman (I’m not mad at the rich people). But usually or historically it has always been the oligarchs ‘yung sa taas. Mamili sila ng presidente, ng kandidato, ‘pag nandoon na puro pabor, pabor, pabor (at the top. They choose the president and other candidates and once they are seated, they always ask for favors),” Duterte said.