President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he would go after Benpres Holdings Corp., now known as Lopez Holdings Corp., and six other companies that have debts with state-run Development Bank of the Philippines.
“I’ll go after itong mga elite,” Duterte said in a speech during the 23rd anniversary celebration of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) in Taguig City.
“And – I will not name the person – but iyong mga company nila noon, Benpres and about six other companies, may utang sila sa DBP. At ang utang nila umabot ng… to finance this… pera ng tao, gagamitin nila to finance their business pero kanila ’yung kita.”
“And yet, they were not able to pay and it was condoned by government,” he added. “Kaya noong binabasa ko ’yung… sabi ko, ‘I will go after the elite in this country because they are the ones really who’s benefiting from all of these things’.”
The President did not name the other six companies.
According to its website, the Lopez Holding Corp. “was incorporated in 1993 by the Lopez family of the Philippines to serve as the holding company for investments in major development sectors such as broadcasting and cable; telecommunications; power generation and distribution; and banking.”
“It added to its portfolio investments in other basic service sectors but has since sold its direct interest in banking, toll roads, information technology, property development, cable and health care delivery,” says the company website.
The Lopezes also own media giant ABS-CBN Corp., which Duterte has slammed for allegedly being biased against him.
Duterte has launched attacks against ABS-CBN, saying he paid the network for airtime during the presidential election campaign, using money he received from donors when his ratings went up. But he said his political advertisement never came out on the network. /atm