Duterte sets off fresh tirades vs ABS-CBN after network lost franchise bid
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has launched a barrage of fresh tirades against embattled media giant ABS-CBN just days after Congress denied its franchise application based on an audio recording of his entire speech obtained by the Inquirer.
In a speech before troops in Jolo, a copy of which was aired Tuesday morning, Duterte said he could now die happy knowing that he had “dismantled” the oligarchy in the country even without declaring martial.
Duterte did not mention the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN in the video aired by Radio Television Malacañang.
However, in a 40-minute audio recording of the entire speech acquired by the Inquirer, the President once again took a swipe at ABS-CBN after lamenting how Metro Manila’s water concessionaires — the Ayala-owned Manila Water and the Manny Pangilinan-led Maynilad — allegedly milked Filipinos of billions of pesos for years.
“’Yun namang ABS-CBN binaboy ako. Pero sinabi ko kapag ako nanalo, bubuwagin ko ang oligarchy ng Pilipinas. Ginawa ko. Without declaring martial law, sinira ko yung mga tao na humahawak sa ekonomiya at umiipit sa tao at hindi nagbabayad. They take advantage, sa kanila political power,” he added.
[ABS-CBN defiled me. But I said if I win, I will dismantle the oligarchy in the Philippines. I did it without declaring martial law, I destroyed the people who were controlling the economy and oppressing the people and not paying. They take advantage, they have political power.]
The President also claimed that ABS-CBN’s equipment was tax-free. He also accused the network of having “holding companies” outside the country and “misdeclaring” the land area of its compound on Mother Ignacia Avenue in Quezon City.
“Tapos may mga holding company sa labas. Ganun din. Ano yung, ano yung inano nila ni Marcos. Sila rin. Cayman, tapos may holding company sa Hungary, dun nila binubuhos. Kunwari, may ano sila, may investment sila dun. Padala sila ng pera. Pero yung investment na yan, wala na. ‘Yung pera hindi na yan babalik. Kaya walang taxes. And to think that they talk and they play God over the lives of the Filipino. Kaya ako, wala akong ano.”
[They have holding companies outside. It’s the same thing — as Marcos had done. They did it too. Cayman, and a holding company in Hungary. That’s where they divert the money. They make it appear that they have investments there. They send money. But their investments are gone. Their money won’t be returned anymore. So they don’t pay taxes. And to think that they talk and they play God over the lives of the Filipino.]
However, Duterte denied that he was the one behind the closure of ABS-CBN, as he stressed that it was the House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises that denied the franchise application.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said that Malacañang was “neutral” on the ABS-CBN franchise issue.
During his regular Palace press briefing on Tuesday, Roque, who was not in Jolo when Duterte delivered his speech, insisted that it was not a policy of Malacañang to edit the President’s speech.
He also said that Duterte was referring to the oligarchs he had publicly warned in the past and “personally dealt with” – not the Lopezes.
“I go by his prior statements. Alam niyo po kami dito sa opisina ko, lahat ng sinasabi ng Presidente, ini-index po namin yan. So pagdating sa oligarchy paulit ulit naman po niya sinasabi, well, bati naman na po sila ngayon. Paulit-ulit niyang sinasabi MVP (Manny Pangilinan), Ayala, Lucio Tan,” the Palace official said.
[I go by his prior statements. You know, we here in my office index everything that the President says. So when it comes to the oligarchy that he has repeatedly mentioned, well, they’ve reconciled. He kept on mentioning MVP, Ayala, Lucio Tan.]
Duterte’s former long-time aide, Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, who shared the stage with Duterte in Jolo during the President’s visit, said in a statement that the fight against corruption and abusive practices stems from Duterte’s love of country.
“I will continue to support the President in this fight in order to rid our country of corruption from top to bottom,” he said. “Kung mahal mo ang bayan mo, ipaglalaban mo ito laban sa lahat ng nang-aabuso mula sa pinakamaliit hanggang sa pinakamapangyarihang gumagawa ng masama sa kapwa nating Pilipino.”
[If you love your country, you will fight for it against all those who commit abuses from the less to the most powerful who do bad things to their fellow Filipinos.]
“That is why when oligarchs, terrorists, criminals and abusive or corrupt officials try to harm or take advantage of the people — in the eyes of the President, they are the enemies who threaten our democratic way of life, and he will not hesitate to fight them to protect the interests of the ordinary Filipinos,” Go added.
The President has repeatedly lambasted the television network over its alleged biased reporting and for not airing his 2016 presidential campaign advertisement.
Late last year, Duterte even said that he would see to it that ABS-CBN would be out of the industry.
ABS-CBN was ordered shut on May 5 following the expiration of its legislative franchise, in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) order.