Duterte says Drilon among ‘those who take advantage of a pre-occupied government’

President Rodrigo Duterte has mentioned in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2020 that Senator Franklin Drilon is among “those who take advantage of a pre-occupied government.”

“My countrymen, it is sad that while government focuses its attention and resources to battle the coronavirus, there are those who take advantage of a pre-occupied government,” President Duterte said. “One of them is Senator Frank Drilon.”

“In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned among others that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son. This happened after the Committee on Franchise voted 70-11 to deny the grant of franchise to ABS-CBN. Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs,” he added.

“Great wealth enables economic elites and corporations to influence public policy to their advantage. Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who used their media outlets in their battles with political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 election,” Duterte added.

In a statement, Senator Drilon said he “was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of the ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect.”

“As I said before, for democracy to thrive we need free press and to allow journalists to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear,” Senator Drilon said.

Duterte also hit the “dealers and purveyors of illegal drugs, hiding in the shadow of COVID-19”; “grafters and the influence peddlers also take advantage of the fear and confusion that the coronavirus generates”; and “profiteers, over-pricers”.

“The profiteers, over-pricers and corrupt felons must be laughing while they stash their dirty monies. But not for long. They cannot outrun the long arm of the law,” Duterte said.