I’ll see to it that you’re out, President tells ABS-CBN
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday vowed that “he will see to it” that the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN would not be renewed.
The President made the statement as he lashed out against the alleged onerous contract between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the two water concessionaires—Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.
“Your franchise will end next year. If you are expecting that it will be renewed, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” he said, addressing ABS-CBN.
There was no immediate response to the Inquirer’s request from the network to comment on the President’s latest statement.
Republic Act No. 3846 requires radio and television broadcasters in the Philippines to obtain a franchise from Congress.
It was the first time that the President had stated that he would personally ensure that the network’s franchise would not be renewed. ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise expires on March 30, 2020.
Election campaign ad
Since he took office, Duterte has repeatedly threatened ABS-CBN’s franchise because the network allegedly ran a negative ad against him when he campaigned for President in 2016 and for refusing to air his own propaganda.
“There were several of us candidates from whom you took money but never aired our propaganda. Me, Chiz Escudero, all of us,” he said in Malacañang at the oathtaking of the executive committee of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.
On the other hand, he said the network aired the ad of one of his sharpest critics, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, that portrayed children allegedly in violation of the election law.
Trillanes, who was then running for Vice President, showed children reacting negatively to video clips of Duterte cursing Pope Francis and his joke about the gang rape and murder of an Australian missionary during a prison riot in Davao City in 1989.
In April 2017, the President accused the network of being unfair in reporting about him, including his brutal war on drugs.
Eugenio “Gabby” L. Lopez III, ABS-CBN chair, at the time brushed aside Duterte’s attacks, saying “it’s part and parcel of our work being a media institution.”
Lopez also said he “[did] not anticipate” significant problems in the approval of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
The President may not have a hard time blocking the renewal as both the Senate and the House of Representatives are dominated by his allies.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano early last month said he also had personal objections to the franchise renewal but promised that the House would be “fair” to the network.
He said the President’s dispute with ABS-CBN was between Duterte and the network. But he noted that Duterte had “legitimate criticisms” against the broadcast giant.
“On one hand I feel that we have to protect the freedom of the press and freedom of expression; on the other hand, I feel that there’s certain instances in history, and in the 2016 election, that some sectors or leaders of ABS interfered unjustly,” he said.
But Cayetano assured the public that “we will find a conclusion that is acceptable to everyone but will be good for the country.”
“First and foremost, telling it straight, we will be fair. It’s our duty to be fair,” he said. —Reports from Julie M. Aurelio and Inquirer Research
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