MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday used his State of the Nation Address to castigate Sen. Franklin Drilon over the opposition lawmaker's proposal to ban political dynasties if government wants to dismantle oligarchy.
Duterte opened and closed his speech by taking a swipe at Drilon, accusing the latter of defending the Lopez family, whom Duterte labeled as "oligarchs."
"In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned among others that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son," Duterte said of Drilon.
"This happened after the Committee on Franchise voted 70-11 to deny the grant of franchise to ABS-CBN. Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs," he added.
Drilon, who leads the Senate Minority, challenged Duterte to ban political dynasties after the President flaunted to have destroyed the country's oligarchy days after ABS-CBN was denied a new broadcast license.
Drilon reminded Duterte 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," Drilon had said.
Duterte called Drilon a "hypocrite" over his remarks.
"Bakit kasi ikaw lang ang galit? Nasabi mo na dynasty, dynasty. You are a hypocrite. You know that you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law," the President said in his SONA.
(Why are you the only one who's mad? You say dynasty. You are a hypocrite. You know that you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law.)
"You know, to take it against me for protecting my country is something which I really resent," he added.
Three of Duterte's children are elected officials. His eldest son Paolo represents the first district of Davao City in the House of Representatives, daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio is Davao City mayor, while his youngest son Sebastian sits as the city's vice mayor.
Drilon denied defending the Lopez family, saying he was defending press freedom after Duterte's allies in the House of Representatives rejected a new broadcast license for ABS-CBN.
"I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of the ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect. As I said before, for democracy to thrive, we need free press and to allow journalists to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear," Drilon said.
"I was defending the 11,000 people and their families who would lose jobs amid the pandemic, not the Lopezes," he added.
Drilon has filed an anti-dynasty bill in the past, but the measure failed to pass the legislative mill as most lawmakers are part of political dynasties.