Despite Malacañang’s insistence that Duterte had no hand in the shutting down of ABS-CBN via congressional vote against its franchise last July 10, Duterte could not hide his glee yesterday when he claimed victory against the broadcast company which he falsely declared as a triumph against the oligarchy.
The shutting down of ABS-CBN was carried out in accordance with Duterte’s orders who has long made clear his antipathy against journalists and media organizations which have been critical of his regime.
Duterte’s false anti-oligarchy propaganda is a mere cover for his arm-twisting tactics against some Manila-based big business to demand bigger shares in their profits. Duterte has publicly abused them with charges of tax evasion, lopsided contracts and others without actually filing any charges. Many have been forced to give in to Duterte and pay him his tributes.
From the outset, Duterte’s repeated claims of opposing the oligarchy is false. Since assuming power in 2016, Duterte himself is the biggest oligarch, ruling the country with tyrannical powers. He sits on top of the country’s ruling elite–the bureaucrat capitalists and their bourgeois comprador partners, and the big landlords, who rule the country, plunder its natural and human resources, fleece the people with taxes and line up their pockets with public funds.
Duterte won the presidency riding on the shoulders of big oligarchs, especially those based in Davao. Like Marcos, Duterte has cultivated his own set of cronies from among the country’s oligarchs, giving them economic favors and privileges–the biggest contracts and loans. A handful of oligarchs led by Davao businessman and long-time Duterte partner Dennis Uy, have aggrandized wealth and power.
Under his tyranny, Duterte has accumulated both wealth and power. At the same time, he has caused massive devastation of the economy and the people’s livelihood by continuing to implement the anti-people neoliberal economic policies which bury the country deep into debt, perpetuate dependence on imports and foreign capital, and take away funds for social services.