Palace says ABS-CBN virus aid drive lacking: Why didn’t you do more like the Ayalas, MVP?
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Wednesday questioned ABS-CBN’s COVID-19 relief efforts, asking why the beleaguered television network “could not have done more” to help the public during the coronavirus pandemic like the Ayala group and businessman Manny Pangilinan did.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque commented on the network’s pandemic relief efforts when asked in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) about the INQUIRER report on President Rodrigo Duterte’s fresh tirades against the media giant, just days after Congress denied its franchise application.
Roque pointed out that while the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN donated its own money, he noted that the rest of relief efforts came from donations through its programs, unlike the two Metro Manila water concessionaires—the Ayala-owned Manila Water and the Pangilinan-led Maynilad—which he said “delivered at the time of crisis” and “did it on their own.”
“I do not know why ABS-CBN could not have done more like the Ayalas and MVP (Pangilinan) did. I guess that’s the difference,” Roque said.
The Palace official added that Duterte has forgiven Pangilinan and the Ayala clan “because of their actions in time of the pandemic (which) softens, I guess, the position of the President.”
Duterte had threatened to file cases against Manila Water and Maynilad for supposedly entering into onerous agreements with the government.
On July 13, Duterte told troops in Jolo, Sulu, that he could now die happy knowing that he had “dismantled” oligarchy in the Philippines without declaring martial law. He did not mention ABS-CBN in the video of the speech aired by government media the following day, but his pronouncement came three days since the House of Representatives killed the broadcasting company’s franchise application on July 10. Roque said Duterte’s victory claim against oligarchs and ABS-CBN’s lost franchise bid were mere coincidence.
However, in an unedited audio recording of the entire speech, Duterte apparently took a swipe at the media network, which he had repeatedly criticized in his public speeches for not airing his 2016 presidential campaign advertisement and for its alleged biased reporting.
“’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” Duterte said.
[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.]
In a speech in December last year, Duterte vowed to “see to it” that ABS-CBN is “out” of business.
However, the President later accepted the apology offered by ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak over the unaired political ads in 2016.
According to Roque, Duterte was “moved” by Katigbak’s apology.
“As far as the Lopezes are concerned he was moved by the apology of Carlo. He was moved because it’s unusual that someone of that stature from his family will actually apologize to the President. That’s why he accepted the apology,” he said during the ANC interview Wednesday.
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