The head of prominent Philippine online gaming firm Philweb Corp resigned yesterday, a day after president Rodrigo Duterte threatened to “destroy” him and accused him of being an oligarch.
Speaking to members of an election watchdog on Wednesday, Duterte called Ongpin an oligarch, saying the company’s chief got rich thanks to his close connections with four previous presidents, including the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Duterte, who has launched a controversial crackdown on crime that has left hundreds dead, called on the country’s legislature to amend the constitution, in part to curb individual influence of wealthy residents over the government.
“My order to the (assembly): Destroy the oligarchs that are embedded in government now. Those are the ones.
I’ll give you an example, publicly, in front of the nation: Ongpin, Roberto.”
“These are the guys, who, while sitting inside their planes or their mansions everywhere, are raking in money like taxi metres.”
Ongpin announced his resignation in a disclosure carried by the stock exchange, but did not give a reason for the move.
“I hereby tender my resignation with immediate effect as chairman and director of Philweb Corp and all of its subsidiaries,” read the statement.
Philweb shares had closed 36.88% down at P8.95 after plunging to a year-low of 7.12 earlier in the trading day Yesterday.
In a speech at an environmental conference yesterday, Duterte renewed his attacks on oligarchs, saying “these are the people who take the wealth of our nation but don’t spend anything but their saliva and connections”.
Philweb won a government license to launch internet cafés exclusively dedicated to hosting casino games in 2003.
Duterte has previously vowed to fight corruption but his main focus has been a war on crime that has seen the killing of hundreds of suspected drug dealers since he was elected on May 9.
Ongpin has stepped down to focus on real estate projects developed by Alphaland Corp, also majority-owned by Ongpin, Philweb said yesterday.
The tycoon was once a trade minister under disgraced former president Ferdinand Marcos, whose regime was characterised by widespread corruption, decadence and military brutality.
Tycoons adds to a growing list of targets that Duterte is pursuing.
The firebrand former prosecutor has said he will crack down on drug dealers, crime bosses, corrupt generals, business monopolies, online gambling and even Catholic priests.
“I am fighting a monster... Believe me, I will destroy their clutches in our nation,” Duterte said.
 The bodies are piling up as president Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war brings terror to Filipino slums.
Hundreds of people have died since Duterte won a landslide election in May, promising to rid society of drugs and crime in six months by killing tens of thousands of criminals.
In one viral image summing up the human cost, a young woman howls in pain as she cradles her partner’s blood-soaked body under the glare of television lights as horrified bystanders look on from behind yellow police crime tape.
“My husband was innocent. He never hurt anyone,” Jennilyn Olayres said of her partner Michael Siaron, 30, a tricycle driver — refuting the crude cardboard poster left behind by the motorcycle-riding gunmen killers saying “drug pusher”.
Police figures showed this week that 402 drug suspects had been killed since Duterte was sworn in at the end of June.
That figure does not include those slain by suspected vigilantes.
The country’s top broadcaster, ABS-CBN, reported that 603 people had been killed since Duterte’s May election, with 211 murdered by unidentified gunmen.
Police raids of suspected drug dealers’ hideouts have led to near-nightly deaths.
Most of the dead suspects — often found face-down in pools of blood — had pistols lying next to them in the act of resisting arrest, according to authorities.
One man was attacked as he drove his tricycle, his body left hanging from the humble vehicle as blood dripped onto the street.
Other people have simply turned up dead in deserted streets and vacant lots at night, their faces cocooned in packaging tape and with cardboard signs accusing them of being drug dealers hanging on their chests.
At his first State of the Nation address to Congress, Duterte defended his anti-crime campaign and described the scene at Siaron’s shooting as a parody of Michelangelo’s 15th century Pieta marble sculpture.
“And there you are, dead and portrayed in a broadsheet like Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ,” the president said, describing the tableau as “drama”.
For an alleged drug dealer, Siaron did not have a lifestyle like Mexican or Colombian cartel kingpins.
The rented hovel that was home to him and his girlfriend, made of scraps of plywood and iron sheeting, was not much bigger than a pig pen.
It stood precariously on stilts atop a smelly, garbage-choked open sewer.
“At times we slept until late on purpose so we only had to worry about lunch and dinner,” Olayres, a street vendor, told AFP at her partner’s wake.
Held in a hall at a local government office, two more of the dead were being mourned at the same time.
Olayres said Siaron was among the more than 16mn Filipino voters who had catapulted Duterte to office.
The attacks have left wives and relatives crying and fainting at the carnage, but also driven drug users and small-time dealers into frantic mass surrenders to district officials.
Police say a staggering 565,806 have turned themselves in.
Many of those who presented themselves with pledges to straighten out their lives wore rubber wristbands bearing Duterte’s name — materials used during his election campaign.
Before the bodies started piling up, Manila police also launched a campaign, codenamed Oplan Rody — the incoming president’s nickname — to rid the streets of drunks and shirtless men, who were made to do 40 pushups to avoid jail time.
A children’s night curfew was also imposed in some districts, with violators and their parents made to undergo counselling.
Images of hellish conditions at an overcrowded Philippines jail triggered calls yesterday from lawmakers and rights groups for swift reforms to the penal system which is under strain from an anti-drugs crackdown.
AFP photographs of the Quezon City Jail, where thousands of inmates are forced to sleep on stairs or on cracked cement floors in unimaginable squalor, highlighted the crisis which is worsening under president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on crime.
“It’s an image straight out of Dante’s Purgatory,” Human Rights Watch said, referring to the 13th century Italian writer’s description of the realm where souls await judgement.
“Hundreds of half-naked men sprawled on the pavement in the sweltering heat, desperately trying to sleep amid the cramped chaos... It’s an actual snapshot of horrific overcrowding in the Philippines’ jails.”
The situation at Quezon City Jail is by no means isolated, the New York-based group added, with many other Filipino jails also failing to meet minimum United Nations standards for nutrition and sanitation.