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Cayetano calls for change in PH oligarchic system

Cayetano calls for change in PH oligarchic system

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday called for change in the country’s oligarchic system, underscoring the power of certain families to “pass” or even “abuse” the law.

During the hybrid hearing of the House committee on good government and public accountability on the implementation of the social amelioration of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Cayetano said that oligarchs “are in the best position to pass the laws, to change the laws, to use the laws, to abuse the law.”

“And kasama nito ang very powerful politicians na either nagagamit or nagpapagamit or very happy na magkuntsaba din sa kanila,” Cayetano said.

(Included here are very powerful politicians who are being used or letting themselves be used or very happy that they’re an accomplice.)

“Sasabihin niyo ‘di totoo yon? Eh bakit tayo nagkaroon ng batas na SALN? Kaya tayo nagkaroon ng batas na SALN dahil yung ilang politiko na tumutulong sa ilang negosyo na galing sa masama. So para mabantayan natin yan, nagkaroon ng SALN,” the House Speaker added.

(You say this isn’t true? Then why we do we have a law on SALN? We have that because of the politicians who aid businesses that have nefarious roots. So in order to guard them, we have SALN.)

Cayetano recognized the existence of oligarchs in the country as he pointed out that these families, in certain administrations, have complained of an uneven playing field.

But Cayetano boasted that President Rodrigo Duterte “levelled the playing field” and treated everyone equally.

“Pero in every other administration, may paborito palagi eh. At kung paborito yung isa, ‘yung hindi paborito umaangal so pagpalit ng administrasyon,” Cayetano said.

(In every other administration, there are favorites. If one side is the favorite, the other side complains so we change adminstrations.)

“Yes there are oligarchs in the country. Yung nagsasabing wala at hindi ito totoo, hindi ko alam kung nasaang mundo kayo (Those who say there aren’t and it isn’t true, I don’t know what planet you’re on),” he added.

The House Speaker later related the issue to the recent denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

“There are good people and there are bad people in the oligarchy and in the oligarchic system. When I look at Mark Lopez and Carlo Katigbak, I sincerely want to give them another chance because I think their generation is different and they have good plans for ABS-CBN,” Cayetano said.

“But could I tell my 70 colleagues, ignore the last 50 years, ignore na ‘yung ginawa sa tax, para bigyan ng pagkakataon itong dalawa (ignore what they did with tax just to give them a chance)? Hindi naman magawa yun e (That can’t be done),” he added.

Katigbak is ABS-CBN’s president and chief executive officer while Lopez is the network’s chairman.

Cayetano then called on the public to “work with the government” to change the system.

“This is our chance na baguhin ang sistema, baguhin ang oligarchic system. Anyway, ilang henerasyon na din naman nakinabang yung mga pamilyang ito,” Cayetano said.

(This is our chance to change the system, change the oligarchic system. Anyway, it’s been many generations that this family has been benefitting.)

In a speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte said that he has and vowed that the remaining years of his presidency will be harsh for oligarchs.

The speech happened days after 70 lawmakers in the House committee on legislative franchises voted to deny the franchise bid of the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN.

But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that when he declared that he has “dismantled” oligarchy in the country, saying that the President was referring to Lucio Tan, Manny Pangilinan and the Ayala clan.

However, in an audio recording of his entire speech obtained by the Inquirer, the president launched fresh tirades against the network, claiming that ABS-CBN’s equipment was tax-free.

JE