Journalists asked Roque if Duterte’s latest tirades in Jolo, Sulu referred to television network ABS-CBN after the President said he was not inordinately proud of having dismantled oligarchs in the country without declaring martial law.-The STAR/Miguel De Guzman
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has softened on the country big businessmen, whom he has been calling oligarchs, after they poured billions of pesos to support government efforts to fight coronavirus disease 2019, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said yesterday.
Journalists asked Roque if Duterte’s latest tirades in Jolo, Sulu referred to television network ABS-CBN after the President said he was not inordinately proud of having dismantled oligarchs in the country without declaring martial law.
“I want to put context why the President has forgiven oligarchs such as the Ayalas and the MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan) Group of Companies,” Roque said.
“While he threatened to imprison the Ayalas and MVP, and that’s not just the threat, I am also tasked to file criminal charges and I have prepared the complaints for these criminal cases againt the Ayalas and MVP… But what’s the context why there was a change of mind?” Roque said.
Roque explained that the President has given specific instructions to pursue the filing of charges against these big companies.
Based on initial information, the MVP Group has poured P6.5 billion in aid related to COVID-19 efforts. The amount is different from the concessions fee and taxes that reached more than P20 billion, Roque said.
Roque also thanked the Ayala Group for its contributions in the government’s COVID-19 response, pegged at P9.5 billion at the least.
Roque made the explanation following Duterte’s alleged statements where he blamed ABS-CBN for the non-renewal of their franchise, adding they did not contribute enough to help the Filipino nation during this time of crisis.
Despite the President’s forgiving the Ayalas and Pangilinan, Roque said this would not deter the government from rescinding contracts related to the water concession agreements and vie for ones that would be more advantageous to the government and the Filipino people.
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