WITHOUT having to declare martial law, President Rodrigo Duterte said he “dismantled” the oligarchy.
In a taped speech before soldiers in Jolo, Sulu aired Tuesday, Duterte said he was ready to die because he “dismantled” the oligarchy that has been controlling the country for several years.
“Kaya ako mamatay, mahulog ‘yung eroplano, 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,” he said.
Duterte, however, did not elaborate on what he meant by “oligarchy.” He shifted topics then mentioned this again later in his speech.
“Sabi ko sa lamesa, sabi ko ang oligarchy ng Pilipinas binuwal ko talaga. Iyan ang... Iyan ang sentimiyento ko rin para malaman mo rin,”he said.
Labor groups have seen Duterte's threat against the country’s two largest water firms Manila Water and Maynilad, as well as local broadcast network ABS-CBN, as part of his alleged plan to favor his cronies.
Duterte, however, denied that he has started his own brand of cronyism in the country during his watch.
In previous speeches, Duterte referred to the water owners as oligarchs over “onerous” 1997 contracts with the government.
He said he considered Manila Water and Maynilad as "big fishes" that take advantage of their consumers.
On January 7, the President gave the two water firms the option to either accept the new water contracts or face cancellation of their present deals.
However, Duterte early May this year thanked business tycoons Fernando Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan of Manila Water and Maynilad, respectively, for helping the government respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 health crisis.
Describing the pandemic as "humbling experience", the President also apologized saying he was no longer the snob as before when he refused to speak with them, as he stressed gratefulness for their continued assistance.
In February, Duterte accepted ABS-CBN's apology after the media giant failed to run his political ads during the 2016 presidential campaign.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Friday (July 10) junked ABS-CBN’s franchise bid for another 25 years in a 70-11 vote. The panel denied the franchise application of ABS-CBN to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the President said he did not mind if he was replaced as President.
“Kaya ako kung mag-decide kayo na tanggalin ako, mas mabuti. Kasi ayaw kong maghawak ng gobyerno na wala akong magawa. May mga batas kasi,” he said. PNA