Roque: No new cronies despite Duterte speech | Inquirer News

Roque: No new cronies despite Duterte speech

/ 05:36 AM July 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday denied that President Duterte was creating a new set of oligarchs despite the chief executive’s remarks before soldiers in Jolo, Sulu, on Monday that he wants “helpful friends” to get richer.

“I think he’s referring to the business community in general, because many of them are his friends and he’s encouraged them to do more because if they get rich, the country would benefit as well,” Roque said.

He added that Mr. Duterte’s remarks about being able to “dismantle the oligarchy … without declaring martial law” did not refer to the Lopez family who owned the beleaguered ABS-CBN media network. The President, Roque said, had been “neutral” on the issue of the media giant’s application for a franchise renewal, which a House committee denied on Friday.


“The Lopezes are still up and about. They have First Gen, they have Rockwell, they have other businesses. Obviously, what [Mr. Duterte] said about the oligarchs did not happen to the Lopezes,” Roque said over the ABS-CBN News Channel.


The unedited audio of the speech, which Malacañang did not release to the public, showed the President railing against the network. “ABS-CBN defiled me. But I said if I win, I will dismantle the oligarchy in the Philippines. I did it without declaring martial law, I destroyed the people who were controlling the economy and oppressing the people and not paying,” Duterte said.

Roque said that unlike other tycoons like the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan, the Lopezes were never threatened with jail time.

The Palace official also questioned ABS-CBN’s donations during the pandemic.

“I know you donated P200 million of your money, but the rest you raised from your TV programs through your calls for donation,” Roque said.

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TAGS: oligarchy, Rodrigo Duterte

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