MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday took a jab at Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for defending the Lopezes after ABS-CBN Corp. failed to secure a new franchise from the House of Representatives.
Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), called Drilon a “hypocrite” for challenging him to ban political dynasties to stop the “real oligarchy” in the country. He said it was “obvious” that Drilon is defending the Lopez family when the senator made the challenge.
Duterte also believed that Drilon’s dare to dismantle political dynasties was an oblique swipe at him, his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and sons, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.
“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. 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,” Duterte said.
Drilon earlier stressed that political dynasties are the “real oligarchs” that need to be first dismantled in the country. Drilon’s statement came after Duterte said he put an end to oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.
Duterte lamented that Drilon is taking advantage of a “pre-occupied government” amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“My countrymen, it is sad that while government focuses its attention and resources to battle the coronavirus, there are those who take advantage of a pre-occupied government. One of them is Senator Frank Drilon,” he said.
Duterte’s previous remarks about oligarchy came after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year congressional franchise to enable the embattled network to resume its broadcast operations.
ABS-CBN, in accordance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order, halted the broadcast operations of its radio and television stations on May 5, or a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise.
Duterte was piqued that Drilon was “protecting” the oligarchs.
“Why are you fumigating? Bakit kasi ikaw lang ang galit (Why are you infuriated)?” he asked Drilon. “You do not protect the oligarchs. You are the one, ikaw lang mag-isa (you are just the one protecting the oligarchs).”
Duterte also lectured Drilon, telling the lawmaker that he is a “casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 election.” He was apparently referring to ABS-CBN’s failure to air Duterte’s political advertisements during the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Great wealth enables economic elites and corporations to influence public policy to their advantage. Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures,” Duterte said.
In February, ABS-CBN apologized to Duterte for its failure to air his campaign advertisements during the 2016 presidential elections. Duterte, in the same month, accepted ABS-CBN’s apology. (PNA)