SAN Miguel Corporation (SMC) caused a lot of heads to turn and tongues to wag when it announced it will donate P1 billion in support of President Duterte’s war on drugs.
The money, it said, is intended to help the government construct new drug rehabilitation centers. The lack of facilities to accommodate thousands of drug suspects who surrendered to the police is reportedly the reason why they were sent home.
Firing Line agrees with SMC president and COO Ramon Ang’s view that in the fight against illegal drugs, rehabilitation is crucial to give drug dependents a chance to start over. That is if they don’t attempt to grab the gun of their escorts before getting jailed.
In fact, we commend SMC and their officials led by Ang and Chairman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. for their noble gesture.
Still, a lot of people remain doubtful that the food and beer giant is simply being philanthrophic.
Some suspect the firm’s “filthy-rich” bosses are doating the P1 billion to avoid getting into Duterte’s list of “oligarchs”.
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Last August 4, the President slammed oligarchs and called them monsters that use money and power to influence government and advance their own interests.
Duterte vowed to destroy oligarchs embedded in government. He even cited their deep involvement in mining operations as a result of influence peddling.
As a stark example, Duterte named Roberto Ongpin as one. The business executive had close ties with the late President Ferdinand Marcos, former Presidents Fidel Ramos, Gloria Arroyo, and Noynoy Aquino. He owns an online gaming firm called Philweb Corporation which has entered into contracts with the government.
Duterte began his roll call of oligarchs with Ongpin at number one. No one is aware of how long the list can go.
Those who feel included think they can press the delete button by getting on the good side of the President.
Well, sorry, folks. So far, Duterte has made good his promise to remain true to the Filipinos who voted for him by fighting drug personalities, criminals, corrupt officials and even oligarchs.
Firing Line is confident that the President’s loyalty truly remains with the people and not with any particular individual.
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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column athttp://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)