Duterte: 'Rich people who are crazy should be killed'

MANILA, Philippines – In a fresh tirade against businessmen, President Rodrigo Duterte said “crazy rich people” should be “killed” for supposedly preventing the Filipino people from “prospering.”

Duterte made the remark in a speech delivered in Visayan before beneficiaries and former rebels of the National Peoples Army in San Isidro, Leyte, on Thursday night, January 23. The Presidential Communicaitons Operations Office later provided an official translation of the speech to reporters. 

Pointing to the “rich” as people “who didn’t want his fellowmen to prosper,” the President said, “There are rich people in the Philippines who are crazy. They are the ones we should kill. Just wait for my signal. Behind a killing is a leader, especially if his followers are stupid and would just fire whenever they are told to.”

Duterte proceeded to criticize the Ayala group and businessman Manny Pangilian once more, with whom he is currently engaged in a bitter spat with over supposedly “onerous” water concession agreements.

"Perhaps you don’t fully understand this but the Philippines has been fooled by the rich people in the Philippines. Just like Ayala, just like Pangilinan, who owns Globe and Smart. They are all thieves, those sons of bitches," he said. 

Duterte’s call to “kill” “rich” Filipinos was met with laughter and applause from the audience. Malacañang has long downplayed Duterte’s controversial remarks as “jokes” made for “dramatic effect.”

The President’s tirades against the Ayala group and Pangilinan are the latest escalation after he threatened to jail them, expose individuals behind the supposedly “onerous deals,” as well as take over their operations in water distribution and file charges against them

Duterte took exception to Ayala-led Manila Water and Pangilinan-led Maynilad, saying their “greed” was insatiable. 

“There are many rich people who are good, those who have a conscience. But these guys, they own it all. All the businesses in the Philippines. The greed in you is insatiable. Nothing,” he said.

The Manila Water concession agreement was signed in 1997, during the Fidel Ramos administration. It was supposed to last till 2037 but is set to expire in 2022, after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System canceled the extension of the agreement. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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