Lagman: ‘Military oligarchy’ should also be dismantled
MANILA, Philippines — If President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against oligarchy is sincere, then all of its forms—including military oligarchy—should be dismantled too, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said Thursday.
Lagman said that while Duterte has targeted the so-called “economic oligarchs,” the President “has shielded and built up military oligarchs with inordinate patronage.”
“Oligarchy has many variations and manifestations, the most dangerous of which is the military oligarchy which is backed up by the arsenal of firepower,” Lagman said in a statement.
“If the campaign against the oligarchy is to be sincere, all forms of oligarchy must be dismantled including the favored military oligarchy,” the lawmaker added.
Lagman said that the Duterte administration is “dominated by former officers in uniform,” seven of these, the lawmaker said, were retired Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The Albay lawmaker said these include Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año; Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr.; Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon; Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero; National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Ricardo Visaya; and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr.
Lagman went on to list other Duterte appointees who have military and police backgrounds such as members of the Cabinet including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzano, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista; Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan; Department of Human Settlements and Urban Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Isidro Lapeña.
In his list, Lagman likewise mentioned the following officials:
Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairperson Danilo Lim;
PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales;
National Intelligence Coordination Agency Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo;
Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) President and CEO Rueben Lista;
PNOC Exploration Corporation Director Oscar Ravena;
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Coordinating Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad;
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Eduardo Gongona;
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson Allen Capuyan;
Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Aaron Aquino; and,
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Wilkins Villanueva;
Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., the chief implementer of the government’s COVID-19 response, is also a former chief of staff of the AFP, Lagman said.
“The current anti-drug campaign, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings, is under the military-police establishment. The controversial anti-terrorism law is a pet measure of the President’s military advisers,” Lagman said.
“To a lesser extent, the militarization of the bureaucracy was also practiced by previous administrations most probably to insulate them from military coups, intervention, and adventurism,” the lawmaker added.
In a speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte said that he has dismantled oligarchy in the Philippines without declaring martial law and vowed that the remaining years of his presidency will be harsh for oligarchs.
Duterte said that he can now die happy knowing that he has “dismantled” oligarchy in the country which he said has milked Filipinos and even manipulated the economy and elections for years now.
“Ganun nila nilaro ang bayan ko. Kaya ako mamatay, mahulog ang eroplano, I am very happy. Alam mo bakit, without declaring martial law I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy and the Filipino people,” Duterte said.
(That’s how they played my country. So if I die, if the plane crashes, I will be very happy. You know why? Because without declaring martial law, I dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy and the Filipino people.)
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