Duterte’s threats vs ABS-CBN not literal – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats against embattled broadcast giant ABS-CBN are “not literal”, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said Friday
When Duterte said he will “shut down” ABS-CBN, Panelo claimed that the President wants to “shut down” the network’s supposed “fraudulent practices.”
“The President made utterances against ABS-CBN. He made certain statements like ‘I’ll shut down (ABS-CBN)’. But hindi naman literal ‘yun eh (But that’s not literal). He wants to shut down the fraudulent practices of your network,” Panelo said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
The Palace official said Duterte was particularly seething with ABS-CBN’s alleged failure to air his paid campaign advertisements during the 2016 election and for airing an anti-Duterte advertisement paid by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who was then running as Vice President, despite a temporary restraining order from a local court.
But Panelo insisted that Duterte’s expression of “displeasure or disgust or anger” on ABS-CBN has nothing to do with the impasse on the pending bills for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, which is set to expire on March 30, 2020.
Several bills seeking to renew the franchise of the media giant for another 25 years remain pending before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises.
Since he was elected president in 2016, Duterte has publicly threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, and even told its owners to just sell the media network if they want it to continue in business.
Late last year, Duterte vowed that he will see to it that ABS-CBN will be “out.”
A month before ABS-CBN’s franchise expires, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to revoke the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., citing what it described as “highly abusive practices” of the network.
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