Duterte ‘happy’ for dismantling oligarchy without need for martial law

Published July 14, 2020, 10:32 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Just days after the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN network lost its franchise bid, President Duterte said on Tuesday that he is “very happy” that he has “dismantled the oligarchy” in the country without having to declare martial law.


In his visit to Jolo on Monday, the President declared he is prepared to die anytime after attaining his campaign promise of dismantling the oligarchs that supposedly abused the system and controlled the country’s political and economic fortunes.

Duterte made an unannounced visit to Jolo, Sulu on Monday to meet with the military troops following the fatal shooting of four soldiers by policemen. His taped address was aired on state television on Tuesday morning after being cut and edited by the Palace.

“Without declaring martial law, sinira ko ‘yung mga tao na humahawak sa ekonomiya at umiipit at hindi nagbabayad. They take advantage sa kanilang political power (Without declaring martial law, I destroyed the people holding the economy, crushing, and not paying (taxes). They take advantage of their political power),” he said before an assembly of troops in a camp in Jolo.

“Kaya ako mamatay, mahulog ‘yung eroplano, I am very happy. Alam mo bakit? Sabi ko (So if I die, if my plane crashes, I am very happy. You know why? I said) without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people,” he said.

Duterte recalled that when he ran for the presidency in 2016, he pledged to combat corruption especially at the higher echelon of power. He said he thought the alleged corruption at the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs was small compared to the “billions” stolen in the upper echelon.

Now in his fourth year in office, Duterte resented that the elite few were milking the government and the people dry, as well as controlling the fate of the country’s elections.

“It is not that I am inordinately proud of it, but that was actually a part of my campaign,” he said, adding he did not expect to win the presidential elections.

“I dare challenge anybody na sabihin nila I am lying. Sinabi ko ‘yan in my own language. Medyo pagkabastos pero sabi ko itong mga mayaman na ginagatasan ang gobyerno pati ang tao (I said it in my own language. It was rude but I said these rich people were milking the government and people dry),” he said.

Duterte also bewailed the fact that only a few rich people were deciding the fate of the country’s elections.

“Every election noon o sa ngayon o bukas sabihin nila sa isang kuwarto lang ‘yan, ‘O adre, sinong kandidato natin ngayon? O ikaw diyan, ikaw ang bahala sa ano ha, you raise the funds.’ Lima ata lang ang tao. Isang pamilya lang ang nag-uusap diyan. Ganun nilaro nila ang bayan ko (Every election in the past, present and future, they will gather in one room and say, ‘Who will be our candidate this time? Okay, you handle this, you handle that. You raise the funds.’ Maybe around five people. One family is involved in the discussion. That’s how they played around with my country),” he said.

Edited speech

The President reportedly mentioned the alleged abuses committed by ABS-CBN and two Metro Manila water firms during his latest rant against the oligarchs.

Duterte’s comments about these companies however were removed from the final speech aired on People’s Television network and government’s social media pages.

The Palace has yet to give an explanation why the President’s latest speech was cut and edited and was approved for broadcast a day later. 

The President’s past speeches in far-flung Jolo were previously aired belatedly within the day since the Radio-Television Malacañang team needed to travel to Zamboanga to get a clear signal for broadcast.

The President’s latest tirade against oligarchs came a few days after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises junked the franchise application of ABS-CBN network.

The network, which was forced to go off air since May over an expired franchise, is owned by the Lopez family.

Duterte previously unleashed angry outburst against the network over an unaired political advertisement despite his payment. He has vowed to block the franchise of the network and even advised the owners to sell their company instead. He later decided to stay neutral on the franchise issue after the network president Carlo Katigbak apologized for the ad dispute.

Back in 2017, the President also pledged to run after Benpress Holdings Corp, now known as Lopez Holdings Corp, for its supposed debts with the Development Bank of the Philippines. The company has previously denied having unpaid debs with DBP or any government institution.

A year later, Duterte threatened to charge the Lopez group with economic sabotage over unpaid debts to the state bank. He claimed that the Lopez group made huge borrowings from DBP several years ago which were later “condoned” that weakened the financial standing of the state-owned bank.

Two Metro Manila water concessionaires also earned the ire of the President last year. Duterte threatened to sue for plunder the Ayala-led Manila Water Company Inc. and Manuel Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services over alleged onerous water concession agreements.

But just last May, the President offered an apology to Ayalas and Pangilinan for his “hurtful words” and expressed readiness to talk to them about the water deals. His change of heart came after expressing gratitude to the businessmen for helping the government in the coronavirus response.