MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he could die happy after he “dismantled the oligarchy” in the Philippines without having to declare martial law.
Duterte made the remark a few days after lawmakers denied ABS-CBN a fresh franchise, a move seen as a fulfillment of the President's earlier promise to ensure the non-renewal of the network's license.
On Dec. 3, 2019, Duterte told ABS-CBN that “I will see to it that you are out.” He later said it was better for the owners of ABS-CBN to just sell the network.
"Without declaring martial law, sinira ko ‘yung mga tao na humahawak sa ekonomiya at umiipit at hindi nagbabayad," Duterte said in a speech before soldiers in Jolo town, Sulu aired Tuesday by the government TV station. He did not name names.
(Without declaring martial law, I dismantled those who hold the economy and those who don't pay their due.)
Oligarchs "take advantage of their political power," Duterte said in his taped speech.
"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,'" he said.
(Every election, they will go into a room. 'Who will be our candidate, it's up to you to raise the funds.')
"Lima ata lang ang tao. Isang pamilya lang ang nag-uusap diyan. Ganun nilaro nila ang bayan ko. Kaya ako mamatay, mahulog ‘yung eroplano, p***** i**, I am very happy. Alam mo bakit? Sabi ko without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people."
(Only 5 persons are in the room. One family discusses it. That's how they played my nation. So if I die, if the plane crashes, I am very happy. Why? Because without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy of the Filipino people.)
Duterte had accused ABS-CBN of “swindling” after the network did not air a campaign ad that he had paid for during the 2016 elections.
ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak apologized to Duterte, which the latter accepted and said the network's franchise was up to Congress.
The President also criticized the network's airing of his rival's campaign ad about his foul language. Duterte’s supporters slammed the ad while ABS-CBN said it was “duty-bound to air a legitimate ad” based on election rules.
Duterte was referring to "oligarchies he has dealt with personally" such as billionaire Lucio Tan and water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad, his spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.
Duterte lashed out at Tan over the Philippine Airlines’ P6 billion unpaid navigational fees and other charges, which the flag carrier has since settled.
The President also went after the Ayala-owned Manila Water and the Manny Pangilinan-led Maynilad due to "onerous and highly disadvantageous" provisions in its contract with government.
When asked if Duterte's aired speech was edited, Roque said he was unaware as he did not accompany the President to Jolo and that there was no policy of editing the President's speech.
"Ang kaso ng ABS-CBN ay kasong nag-expire ang prangkisa at hindi na-renew," Roque said.
(ABS-CBN's case was its franchise expired and was not renewed.)
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