Duterte: I dismantled oligarchy in Philippines without declaring martial law
President Rodrigo Duterte said he dismantled the oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.
Duterte made the statement following the the non-renewal of ABS-CBN Corp.'s franchise by the House committee on legislative franchises whose members are mostly his allies.
"Without declaring martial law, I destroyed the people who have been holding the economy...those who have not been paying (the right taxes)," he said in a taped speech during his visit in a military camp in Jolo, Sulu on Monday but was only aired on Tuesday.
Without naming who the oligarchs were, Duterte said they "take advantage of their political power," especially during the elections.
He said that every election these wealthy individuals consult with each other and raise fund for a common candidate.
"I think they are five individuals. It's only one family who is talking. That's how they play my country. That's why even if I die, my airplane crashes, son of a b****, I am very happy," he said.
"You know why? As I said, without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people," he stressed.
In 1972 shortly after late dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, he ordered the military to shut down ABS-CBN. The Lopezes regained the network after Marcos was ousted in a peaceful People Power Revolution in 1986, catapulting late Corazon Aquino to power.
In a virtual press briefing, asked who could have been referred to by the President as the oligarchs, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said they could be business tycoon Lucio Tan, the Ayalas and Manuel V. Pangilinan.
He noted that Duterte previously threatened Tan because his controlled Philippine Airlines' failed to pay fees at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal II and the Ayalas and Pangilinan due to alleged onerous water concession agreements with the government.
But later the President apologized to them after PAL paid billions of charges at NAIA while the Ayalas and Pangilinan have agreed to renegotiate the water concession contracts.
They also helped the government on its coronavirus response.
Roque said Duterte's speech against the oligarchs was just coincidental with the junking of ABS-CBN franchise renewal.
"I believe so because he often mentioned in his speeches that he dismantled the oligarchs. This case of ABS-CBN is a case wherein the franchise expired and it was not renewed by Congress," he said.
In a speech on Dec. 30, 2019 in M'lang, Cotabato, Duterte slammed the oligarchs, such as the Prietos of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which he called as the "mouthpiece" of the oligarchs in the country; the Ayalas and Pangilinan for the supposed problematic water concession agreements; and the Lopezes of ABS-CBN.
He had said that no president ever touched ABS-CBN for "fear" of the money and of the company.
He had said that nothing would happen on its franchise when it asked for renewal.
It was also that time that Duterte asked the owner of ABS-CBN to sell the company.
"If I were you, sell it. Because it is only now that the Filipino could get even with your foolishness. And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever," he had said. Celerina Monte/DMS