MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should ban political dynasties if he really wants to dismantle oligarchy in the country, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
An oligarchy is "easy to achieve" in the Philippines due to the "lack of an anti-dynasty provision" and other anti-competition policies in the system, Drilon said in an online forum.
"I am willing to sit down with [the] Duterte administration to examine laws we have and find out which laws should be amended that makes oligarchy possible," he said.
"One of those is the lack of the anti-dynasty law... They have made our national and local offices extensions of their household," he said.
"They wield power for their own benefit. It has gone so bad that these dynasties now hold simultaneous national and local positions," he said.
Earlier this week, Duterte said in a speech before soldiers that he could die happy after dismantling an oligarchy that allegedly abused the system.
An unedited version of his speech showed that the President was referring to the Lopez family that owns ABS-CBN, whose franchise application was killed by the President's allies at the House of Representatives, and the Ayala clan which has stakes in several industries, including water services.
But Drilon reminded the President that identifying an oligarch should not be based on wealth alone.
"You are an oligarch if you use your power to promote through the political system your own interest," he said.
Drilon has filed the anti-dynasty bill in several Congress sessions, but the measure has failed to pass the legislative mill as most lawmakers are part of political dynasties.
"With the popularity rating of the President, he has the capacity to push that [Anti-Dynasty bill] in Congress," Drilon said.
Duterte, who enjoys a supermajority in the House, has built his own political dynasty in his hometown and bailiwick Davao City, where he was long-time mayor.
Duterte's eldest son Paolo represents the first district of Davao City in the House, daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio is Davao City Mayor, while his youngest son Sebastian sits as the city's Vice Mayor.
"When you want to remove oligarchy as a power structure then you should rise above all of these," Drilon said.
"Let's make sure that oligarchs are not substituted by cronies or another oligarch," he said.