Duterte party shuns ‘old rich’ donors
MANILA, Philippines — The ruling PDP-Laban is open to receiving financial support from the “enlightened rich,” but not from oligarchs who contribute campaign funds with strings attached, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday.
Speaking at the oath-taking of new members and the proclamation of local candidates of the PDP-Laban in Iligan City, the President said most of the country’s politicians, through the years, have joined the mainstream political parties, namely the Nacionalista and Liberal, which he claimed “were funded by oligarchs.”
This, he added, resulted in “political bigwigs from Manila” gaining the upper hand in the country’s elections for many years.
He said PDP had no similar funding. “The PDP does not have that kind of money trail from financiers that leads to the candidates,” he said.
Duterte, however, noted that “enlightened rich people” go to the PDP to give support without expecting something in return.
“The PDP is for those who are the enlightened rich people. But if you talk about the old rich, those are the parties they go to,” he said, referring to the mainstream political parties.
He claimed that it was the “old rich” who supported the other political parties and ended up gaining political influence in government.
“You can really recognize someone’s political inclination with the way they talk, even if they try to hide it because it’s what they’re used to … It’s just them. For how many elections, every election, it’s just them… They really support political parties. But that’s how it works, they (political parties) are indebted to them (rich contributors),” he added, referring to the country’s moguls and tycoons.
Duterte mentioned billionaire businessmen Enrique Razon and Ramon Ang as among those supporting politicians running in next year’s elections.
The President lamented that the companies owned by the rich contributors, through the years, get repaid for their political support by getting government contracts, tax incentives, and other perks.
“Now, look at what happened. They gave the water [concession contract] to the Ayalas. That is why ABS-CBN is so abusive. They don’t pay taxes yet they are the ones who are aggressive. And they continue really to utilize the political parties even until today. It’s still the same,” he said.
Duterte, in his political speeches, has often taken pride in going after oligarchs whom he accused of having exerted control in government affairs for a long time.
Duterte said the winners in the 2022 elections should prioritize their constituents above all others.
“Keep in mind that your victory will not only be ours, but more importantly of the nation. As a political party, we should continue to put the welfare and progress of our country and people on top of our priorities. Our mission is and will always be to improve the quality of life of the Filipinos. As you run for public office, take this to heart, even after the election period and regardless of the election results,” he said.
Leftist groups, middle class
He recounted PDP’s origins in the last years of the Marcos regime as one led by people from Visayas and Mindanao with land reform as one of its tenets.
The PDP, he added, identified with issues pushed by leftist groups, and its support was basically from the middle class.
“As time went by, the people began to understand that PDP is really fundamentally pro-poor,” he added.
The PDP was officially launched in February 1982 in Cebu City, led by then Cagayan de Oro City mayor and later Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. In July the same year, it coalesced with the Laban party, which was led by assassinated Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
The PDP-Laban is currently divided into two factions vying to be recognized as the legitimate party.
One wing is allied with Duterte and led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, and the other is led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is running for President under another party. INQ
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