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Lagman to Duterte: Military oligarchs more dangerous than economic oligarchs

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday said military oligarchy was the most dangerous kind, and President Rodrigo Duterte had been building them up while claiming to have dismantled business oligarchies.

“Oligarchy has many variations and manifestations, the most dangerous of which is the military oligarchy which is backed up by the arsenal of firepower,” the opposition lawmaker said.

“While President Rodrigo Duterte has targeted the so-called “economic oligarchs”, he has shielded and built up military oligarchs with inordinate patronage,” Lagman said.

“If the campaign against the oligarchy is to be sincere, all forms of oligarchy must be dismantled including the favored military oligarchy,” he added.

Lagman said the Philippine bureaucracy under Duterte is dominated by former officers in uniform, seven of whom are retired Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines like Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secrtary Eduardo Año; Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez, Jr.; Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon; Bureau of Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero; National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Ricardo Visaya; and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr.

Duterte’s other appointees with military and police backgrounds include, among others, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzano, Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista; Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan; Department of Human Settlements and Urban Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Isidro Lapeña, all of which are cabinet members.

Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairperson Danilo Lim; PhilHealth President and CEO Ricardo Morales; National Intelligence Coordination Agency Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo; Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) President and CEO Rueben Lista; PNOC Exploration Corporation Director Oscar Ravena; National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Coordinating Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad;

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Eduardo Gongona; National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson Allen Capuyan; Clark International Airport Corporation President and CEO Aaron Aquino; and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Wilkins Villanueva.

The chief implementor of the Philippines Declared National Policy Against COVID-19 is former Chief of Staff of the AFP Carlito Galvez, Jr., who is concurrently the peace adviser.

The current anti-drug campaign, which has resulted to thousands of extrajudicial killings, is under the military-police establishment.

The controversial anti-terrorism law is a pet measure of the President’s military advisers.

“To a lesser extent, the militarization of the bureaucracy was also practiced by previous administrations most probably to insulate them from military coups, intervention and adventurism,” Lagman said.

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