Drilon refutes Duterte: Defending ABS-CBN was for press freedom, not Lopezes
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon has refuted President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that he was defending the Lopez clan that owns media giant ABS-CBN, insisting that he was focused on press freedom and the jobs of the workers.
Drilon, who was on the receiving end of tongue-lashing from Duterte during his State of the Nation Address (Sona), clarified that his call was for the upholding of press freedom, saying that the Lopezes’ ownership of the network was only incidental.
“Kaya po ako tumayo para sa ABS-CBN ay dahil sa akin po, no’ng naging issue ‘yang sa ABS-CBN, ang issue ay freedom of the press, incidental lang po ‘yong Lopez,” Drilon said in an interview with DZBB, shortly after Duterte finished delivering his Sona.
(When I stood up for ABS-CBN when it became an issue, the reason was for freedom of the press, it was just incidental that the Lopezes own it.)
“‘Yong issue ay mawawalan ng trabaho ang 11,000 kawani ng ABS-CBN. ‘Yan lang po ang aking ipinaglaban,” he added. “Wala po akong utang na loob sa mga Lopezes, wala po akong utang sa kanila, at sila po ay kababayan ko ngunit maliban dyan wala na po kaming pinagsamahan.”
(The issue is that 11,000 ABS-CBN workers will lose their jobs. That is what I’m fighting for. I am not indebted with the Lopezes, I have no debt from them, and we came from the same province aside from that we do not have a history to look back to.)
Drilon was mentioned several times by Duterte, from the start of his speech up to a moment before the end, saying that the senator “arrogantly” made a remark on oligarchs and supposedly defended the Lopezes, even linking Duterte’s children as oligarchs.
Duterte was making a statement about those who supposedly “take advantage of a preoccupied government” amid the coronavirus pandemic when he made the tirades about Drilon.
“One of them is Senator Franklin Drilon. In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned, among others, that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son,” Duterte said.
Later on, Duterte also questioned whether he was with the ACCRA Law Office that allegedly lawyered for the Ayala family in their water concession agreement. According to Drilon, he did not serve as counsel for any concession agreement, and that he was no longer with ACCRA when the contracts were entered.
“Wala po akong kinalaman dyan sa concession agreement na ‘yan, at you know I can tell you right in your face I can say with a clear conscience, with a straight face, kaharap ang buong bansa at sasabihin na wala akong kinalaman dyan,” Drilon said.
(I have nothing to do with the concession agreement, I am telling the whole country that I have nothing to do with that.)
“Hindi po, wala po akong ginawa na naging abogado ng mga Lopezes para sa mga kontratang pinasok sa gobyerno, wala po akong pakialam doon sa water concession agreement na sinasabi ng Pangulo, wala na po ako sa ACCRA no’ng sinasabi nilang na-apprubahan ‘yong kontrata nyan,” he added.
(No, I have done nothing to be a lawyer of the Lopezes for the contract entered into the government, I have no interests with the water concession agreement that the President was saying, I was not with ACCRA when the said contract was approved.)
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