Ongpin daughter quits; Rody tags Mar backer

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines -  Another businessman has been added to the list of what President Duterte called oligarchs who are making money at the expense of poor Filipinos.

Duterte, who promised to “destroy” oligarchs, yesterday accused businessman Francis Eric Gutierrez of importing air assets without paying taxes and engaging in destructive mining in Agusan.

 Gutierrez reportedly provided aircraft to the Liberal Party (LP) during the campaign of Mar Roxas and allegedly received favors for his mining firm in the previous administration.

The LP said the air assets were leased.

This developed as the daughter of businessman and former trade minister Roberto Ongpin tendered yesterday her resignation as vice chairman and director of PhilWeb, a listed gaming company led by her father until his resignation last Thursday.

Anna Bettina Ongpin said she decided to quit as she needed “to devote more time and attention to other business matters.”

Her father’s resignation came a day after President Duterte singled him out as among the oligarchs he wanted to destroy.

Speaking to election volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) on Wednesday, Duterte said Ongpin was one of the oligarchs “embedded in the government.”

“I’ll give you an example, publicly, Ongpin, Roberto. He was influential during the time of (Ferdinand) Marcos, trade minister, I think. He remained influential despite the succession. During the time of (Fidel) Ramos, he was a hanger on as well as during the time of Gloria (Arroyo) and P-Noy (Benigno Aquino III). Now he owns (an) online (gambling firm),” the President said.

At Camp Lapu-Lapu in Cebu City, Duterte told soldiers “Gutierrez is one of the oligarchs.”

“He brought in airplanes without costs. He brought in choppers without costs. His mining in Agusan is destructive.”

“You oligarchs fool the Filipinos and do not pay taxes,” he said.

Gutierrez is part owner SR Metals Inc. and its subsidiaries San R Mining and Galeo Mining Equipment Corp.

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe denied reports Ongpin was one of the financiers of her campaign in the May presidetial elections.

“This is absolutely untrue. Senator Poe did not receive a single cent or even an iota of support from Mr. Ongpin,” Nelson Victorino, Poe’s chief of staff, said. -- With Paolo Romero

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