Press Release
July 15, 2020

Drilon supports dismantling oligarchy but warns cronies may take over if reforms are not in place

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said dismantling oligarchy in the country takes structural reform and an overhaul of existing laws that allowed oligarchy to persist.

Without these necessary structural reforms, the veteran lawmaker feared that oligarchs would only be replaced by cronies.

Drilon made the statement a day after the President claimed that he had dismantled oligarchy in the country without declaring martial law.

The opposition senator, however, said it takes more than that.

"What is it in our legal system that makes oligarchy possible? To me, we must study that. Structural reform is necessary," Drilon said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Webinar hosted by veteran journalist Marichu Villanueva

"As a matter of policy, we are against oligarchy and the remedy is to look at our legal structure to why oligarchy persists," he said. "We should not have oligarchs because that is not good and is bad for governance. We should adopt policies to prevent or dismantle these oligarchies."

Drilon said he is willing to work with the administration to review the current system and enact measures that can prevent all forms of oligarchy.

"I am willing to sit down with the Duterte administration to examine the laws that we have and find out which laws should be amended or which laws should be enacted in order that we can remove or dismantle structures that made possible the oligarchy," Drilon said.

"Let's make sure that the oligarchs are not substituted by cronies," he warned.

Drilon cited enacting an anti-dynasty law and reforming the political party system in the country as measures that can prevent oligarchy.

"The lack of an anti-dynasty system or provision in our system allows oligarchy to continue," he said.

Drilon said they are the oligarchs that the country must first rid of, adding that political dynasties allowed oligarchs to thrive.

"They have made our national and local offices extensions of their household. They wield power for their own benefit. It has gone so bad that these dynasties now hold simultaneous national and local positions," he said in a separate statement.

"Kung noon ay naghahalinhinan o nagpapalitan lamang sila sa puwesto, ngayon ay sabay-sabay na silang nakaluklok sa poder," he added.

Drilon is the author of Senate Bill No. 11 that seeks to prohibit political dynasties and Senate Bill No and Senate Bill No. 12 that seeks to strengthen the political party system in the country and discourage political turncoatism.

"As part of the political reform to prevent oligarchy, maybe we should look at our political party system, because that is not helpful. Our present system cannot be cited as a check on oligarchs," Drilon said.

Drilon said that with the popularity rating of the President, he has the capacity to push the passage of the anti-political dynasty law in Congress. The Duterte family is a member of a political clan.

Drilon said: "When you want to remove oligarchy as a power structure, then you should rise above all of these."

Oligarchy, according to Drilon, is a form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people, which use their power to seek personal or benefit their group or business interest.

Drilon clarified that being rich does not make one an oligarch, saying oligarchy takes place when one influences the decision of the government or uses his or her rich in order to pursue a policy that benefits business interest.

"It is not in wealth that you are an oligarch; you are an oligarch if you use your power to promote through the political system your own interest," he said.

Drilon said that while there are laws that seek to prevent oligarchy, citing the Philippine Competition Act passed during the Aquino administration, there are laws that allowed oligarchy to take place.

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