President Rodrigo Duterte has touted that he had “dismantled” oligarchy in the Philippines without declaring martial law even as he admitted that he is happy for his friends who made it in business.
His remark came days after the franchise rejection of the Lopez-led ABS-CBN by the House of Representatives.
In a taped speech in Jolo, Sulu aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said that he can now die happily for being able to dismantle oligarchy which he said has manipulated the country’s economy and elections for years.
He vowed that the two remaining years of his term would be harsh to the elites.
“That’s how they played my country. So if I die, if the plane crashes, I will be very happy. You know why? Because without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy and the Filipino people,” he said.
“My soldiers are dying, son of a bitch, just to prop up a government which is useless when they are there… But these two years will be tough for them,” President Duterte added.
In the latter part of his speech, however, the Chief Executive expressed that he is happy for his friends who became rich and said they have to talk “because there is so much that we can do business.”
“My friends who are helping me, if you get richer and richer, I am happier. Because I am happy with my life. But I want you to get rich,” he said.
It was his first public appearance after a House panel rejected the franchise bid of ABS-CBN, the largest media conglomerate in the Philippines, which he had repeatedly threatened to shut down over the non-airing of his political ads in the 2016 polls.
In a televised briefing, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the President’s remarks were not meant for the Lopezes of ABS-CBN, claiming that the firebrand leader was referring to taipan Lucio Tan, Manny V. Pangilinan and the Ayala family.
Roque also said that it was just a coincidence that President Duterte mentioned dismantling the oligarchy after ABS-CBN was denied its franchise.
The Palace official also denied accusations that President Duterte “destroyed the Philippine elite” to choose his own, adding that Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy built his fortune through his mining and logistics business without the help of the Chief Executive.
“Dennis Uy is already rich, even before. He does not need help from the President,” Roque said.
Uy, whose businesses flourished recently, is a known supporter and one of the top campaign donors of President Duterte.
In his previous speeches, the President did not mince words against oligarchs, even threatening that he would kill all “crazy” and “rich” families across the country.
In 2017, President Duterte slammed Tan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines, over his P6-million tax liabilities. The company later paid the taxes.
In December last year, Duterte threatened to file a plunder case against the Ayala family and Pangilinan over the 1997 water concession agreement for supposedly containing onerous provisions disadvantageous to the government.
He later softened his stance against them when the coronavirus pandemic paralyzed the country, and called for cooperation of the private sector to address the health crisis.