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Duterte says he went hard on Lucio Tan despite warnings he could finance destabilization plots against govt

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President Rodrigo Duterte said he was warned by his advisers not to mess with bilyonaryo Lucio Tan because the oligarch could decide to bankroll the opposition groups plotting to oust him from Malacanang.

In an interview with PTV-4, Duterte said he was forced to give Tan a 10-day ultimatum to pay the P7.3 billion in navigational fees and other arrears owed by Philippine Airlines to the government or he would shut down is operations because he could not tolerate this injustice to the government which has ran through four administrations.

He said nobody dared to touch Tan – the country’s fourth richest man with interests in cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, property, and agriculture – because of fears he could join forces out to change Malacanang’s current tenant.

Tan capitulated and offered to settle the row and pay the government P6 billion within the year.

“Itong si Lucio Tan, hindi siya nagbabayad. Matagal na ‘yan. Panahon pa ni — I think about four presidents away. Hindi siya nagbabayad ng — pag-landing mo pati pag-take off mo, may bayad ‘yan eh. Almost six billion,” said Duterte.

“Walang mag… sabi nila, kasi magbigay daw ng pera sa kalaban para i-destabilize ka. Sabi ko, ‘Mabuti. Sige, mag-destabilize kayo. Pag nag-tilt itong bayan, ang abutin niyo sa akin, revolutionary government’. Only good for five years, hanggang… Wala nang iba,” he added.

Duterte said he ordered Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, an ally of Tan, and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Cesar Dulay to play hardball with Tan.

“Kubrahin mo. We have to recover the money. Magbayad kayo. Sa panahon ko, walang exemption, lalo na ‘yung mga elite. Huwag kayong ma-ano na kilala ,” said Duterte who previously revealed that he turned down a campaign contribution from Tan.

“Hindi ako nagyayabang — that was the reason ayaw ko tanggapin ang pera ninyo during the campaign. Kasi sinabi ko, ‘Hindi, wala naman ako siguradong manalo. Pero ‘pag ako ang manalo, yayariin ko kayong lahat’,” said Duterte.

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