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Duterte blasts Drilon: Youâre a hypocrite
“You are a hypocrite. You know you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law. You are there in Congress, take the lead,” Presiden Duterte said. “You proceed to characterize everyone, saying that oligarchy is not bad at all.”
STAR/File

Duterte blasts Drilon: You’re a hypocrite

Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte called Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon a “hypocrite” for pushing the passage of the anti-dynasty law and for supposedly defending the Lopezes, whom the President branded as oligarchs, during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City yesterday.

“You are a hypocrite. You know you cannot pass an anti-dynasty law. You are there in Congress, take the lead,” Duterte said. “You proceed to characterize everyone, saying that oligarchy is not bad at all.”

The oligarchy that exists in the country is the same one that dates back to Spanish times, according to the President, lashing out at the “oligarchy that controls the Philippines by taking control of the water, electricity and power.”

“That’s your oligarchy, Drilon,” he said.

The 75-year-old Chief Executive expressed displeasure with Drilon, a member of the political opposition, for siding with the Lopez clan and defending the Lopez-owned television network ABS-CBN, which lost its battle for franchise renewal earlier this month.

The visibly exasperated Duterte also bared Drilon’s supposed role in drafting the concessionaire contract for the Ayala-owned Manila Water, the sole provider of water services to over six million people in the east zone of Metro Manila.

“You know… I’d like to ask Drilon: were you a part of ACCRA when this contract of Ayala water was being drafted? Why are you fuming? Bakit kasi ikaw lang ang galit, nasabi mo na dynasty, dynasty?” Duterte said, referring to the law firm where Drilon came from.

The President also lashed out at the minority leader supposedly for “billions and billions” that these water concessionaires have collected when they have not built any treatment facility.

“You do not protect the oligarchs here. You are the only one. I suspect you were the one who helped when you were with ACCRA,” said Duterte, himself a lawyer. “Ayala got ACCRA, and ACCRA did it.”

Toward the end of his nearly two-hour speech, Duterte apologized to the audience, saying the SONA was not the proper forum, but adding that the Filipino people “need to know” and “to get the facts.”

“Hinawakan ninyo ang mga tubig at mga kumpanya (You took hold of water and other companies), that’s oligarchy,” he said.

“The best of lines, whatever, the government gets it before whoever,” he added.

Rody blasts ‘opportunists’

In the early part of his SONA, Duterte blasted “opportunists” – among them Drilon – for taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis while the government has been busy handling the situation in the last four months.

“My countrymen, it is sad that while the government focuses its attention and resources (on battling) the coronavirus, there are those who take advantage of a preoccupied government,” he said.

“One of them is Sen. Frank Drilon. 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,” he added.

The President, who has been criticized for trampling on press freedom over the ABS-CBN franchise issue, talked of how the rich elite control the country through “biased media.”

“Great wealth enables economic elites and corporations to influence public policy to their advantage,” he said.

While his spin masters have been saying that the Chief Executive did not have any direct hand in the act of Congress, Duterte also admitted that he did not get fair treatment from the TV network during the 2016 elections.

“Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 elections,” he said.

Apart from what he described as oligarchs, Duterte also dwelt on how drug syndicates have tried to continue their illegal activities at the height of the pandemic.

“The dealers and purveyors of illegal drugs hiding in the shadow of COVID-19 have stepped up their activities. The amount of shabu valued at millions of pesos seized during police operations speak volumes of the enormity and weight of the problem that we bear,” he said.

A known tough leader who has cussed even world leaders, Duterte bared how corruption reared its ugly head during the crisis.

“The corrupt, the grafters and the influence peddlers also take advantage of the fear and confusion that the coronavirus generates,” he said.

The President also lamented how the assistance provided by the government and the private sector for desolate Filipinos was corrupted.

“The financial and material assistance of the government to the unemployed, the sick and the destitute running into billions of pesos are not spared from corruption and ineptitude,” he said.

“Even the donations from well-meaning private persons are skimmed before reaching their intended beneficiaries. It is like snatching food from the mouths of babes,” he added.

Duterte warned those who have taken advantage of the Filipinos that they would face the harsh force of the law in due time.

“The profiteers, overpricers and corrupt felons must be laughing while they stash their dirty monies, but not for long. They cannot outrun the long arm of the law,” he said.

Delivering his message from a prepared speech, the Chief Executive also quoted the late former president Ramon Magsaysay who, according to Duterte, remains relevant today.

“We need men of integrity and faith like Rizal and del Pilar, men of action like Bonifacio, men of inflexible patriotism like Mabini. We need their zeal, their self-reliance, their capacity for work, their devotion to service, their ability to lose themselves in the common cause of building a nation,” Duterte said.

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