President Rodrigo R. Duterte over the weekend went on a tirade against "oligarchs" who he claimed owed the government billions of pesos in unpaid taxes.
"'Yung mga mayaman, talagang kalaban ko 'yan. Sabihin na ninyo na inggit ako sa inyo, totoo 'yan, p— ina kayo pero magbayad kayo," he said before the Filipino crowd in Qatar late Saturday.
"Kaya inggit ako na galit sa inyo. Bakit 'di ako maiinggit? Yumayaman kayo nang yumayaman 'di naman kayo bumabayad ng taxes," he added.
Among those Duterte mentioned is business tycoon Lucio Tan, the 501st richest man in the world with $3.7 billion, according to the latest Forbes' "Richest People on the Planet."
"Lucio Tan has almost billion, 30 billion. He has to pay. He has to pay. Lahat, they have to pay," Duterte said.
Tan currently chairs publicly-listed LT Group Inc., whose portfolio includes distilled spirits, beverages, tobacco, property development, and banking businesses.
It is the holding firm for subsidiaries such as Tanduay Distillers Inc., Tanduay Brands International Inc., Asia Brewery Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corp., Philippine National Bank, Saturn Holdings Inc., Paramount Landequities Inc., and Eton Properties Inc.
"Kaya kayong mga mayayaman, mga tax evasion niyo, magbayad kayo," Duterte said.
Aside from Tan, Duterte also mentioned business mogul Roberto V. Ongpin, who supposedly paid only 1 percent of taxes.
"[Si] Ongpin, binigyan ng concession ni [former President] Cory [Aquino]. Since then until now, 1 percent lang [binayaran]. Everybody is paying 10 percent," he said.
Duterte last year tagged Ongpin as one of the oligarchs with undue influence on the government, something he intends to end during his term.
He also continued his tirades against ABS-CBN Corp. and the Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc., media companies which he accused of giving covering his administration unfairly.
"Itong Inquirer, as if 'yung mga editorial na kung birahin nila 'yung mga official, with all the righteousness and moralities sa editorial, 'yun pala p— ina kayo pati 'yung ABS mga mukhang pera kayo," he said.
Duterte said should the businessmen pay their back taxes, the Philippines is seen to grow.
"Our country never grew talaga but in the fullness of God's time, sigurado ako basta wala lang corruption at makuha ko lang 'yung taxes na 'di binayad nitong mga animal na 'to," Duterte said. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News