Duterte renews threat to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday renewed his threat to object to the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, which will expire in 2020.
The President made the warning after accusing the television network of not airing his campaign ad that was already paid during the 2016 presidential election.
“Kalakas ng loob… mukhang marami kami sila Chiz Escudero, tanggap nang tanggap. Niloko ninyo kami, marami hindi lang ako kaya kayo hindi ko kayo palusutin,” Duterte said in his speech during the distribution of land to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Boracay.
“‘Yung franchise ninyo matatapos na, but let me ask you [the] questions first, kasi ako talagang mag-object na ma-renew kayo,” he stressed.
Duterte also revealed that the television giant offered to return his payment but he refused to accept it because it was made after the election.
“They offered to pay and I refused to accept it because it was returned to me… proposed to return the money was too late after the election,” Duterte told reporters after the ceremony.
“When you do that to many people, it’s fraud. You’re actually a fraud when you actually received money and you don’t come up with your part in the bargain,” he added.
Duterte has repeatedly criticized ABS-CBN for the network’s alleged biased reporting, including his supposed ill-gotten wealth and his controversial war on illegal drugs.
ABS-CBN’s franchise will expire on March 30, 2020 and its renewal remains pending in Congress.
In April last year, when Duterte first blasted the network, the owner of ABS-CBN Corp. brushed aside the President’s criticism of bias against the media giant, saying it came with the territory.
“It’s part and parcel of our work being a media institution,” Eugenio “Gabby” L. Lopez III, ABS-CBN chair, told a worried shareholder during the company’s annual meeting on April 27, 2017.
“Let me just say, we have not yet encountered an administration that at one point or another had not had some issue with the media in general, and ABS-CBN in particular,” Lopez said.
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