Duterte wants to sue Prietos, Rufinos for ‘economic sabotage’

Pia Ranada
If he pushes through with the case, the President says he won't allow the families to post bail to give them a 'taste' of prison life

PRESIDENT'S GRUDGE. President Rodrigo Duterte is studying if he can sue the Prietos and Rufinos for economic sabotage. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte warned the families who own the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he intends to sue them for “economic sabotage” for their continued use of the Mile Long property.

“If I could prove, which I am studying now that that’s economic sabotage, then I will file cases against them for economic sabotage,” said Duterte on Wednesday, August 2, during the Bureau of Internal Revenue anniversary.

He even said he would not “allow” the Prietos and Rufinos to post bail so they can experience jail time like other criminals.

“Then I will not allow bail. Makatikim rin sila, ang mga mayaman (They will get a taste, the rich), for once in their life, makapasok sila ng presuhan (they get to enter a prison),” said Duterte.

The Duterte administration accuses Sunvar Realty Development Corporation, a firm run by the Prietos and Rufinos, of occupying the Mile Long property in Makati even after the expiration of their lease agreement in December 2002.

“You continue to lease it, which is not yours, the property, then you continue to collect. So what does that mean? It means swindling on a large scale,” said Duterte on Wednesday.

Last July 28, Solicitor General Jose Calida told Sunvar to vacate the 2.9-hectare property or his office will run after the properties of the Prietos and Rufinos.

Calida said Sunvar owes the government more than P1.656 billion in rental fees, exclusive of legal interest.

The Prieto and Rufino families have been running the Philippine Daily Inquirer for over two decades. Last July, they announced the planned sale of their majority shares to businessman Ramon Ang.

The decision to sell came amid the President’s renewed tirade against the newspaper and the Prietos’ businesses.

Last May, Duterte also threatened to file estafa charges against ABS-CBN for supposedly not airing his political advertisements even if his camp paid for them. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.