‘Nothing personal’: Duterte insists ABS-CBN still have unpaid taxes
MANILA, Philippines — While saying he did not mind the critical stories aired by media giant ABS CBN about him and his family, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday insisted that the news agency still owed the government billions of pesos in unpaid taxes, which is why he “fought” them.
“Wala akong problema sa ABS-CBN (I don’t have a problem with ABS-CBN). They got my money, they wanted to return it when the case blew up but they printed all the garbage including my daughter as a drug trafficker,” he said in his final State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“Nilamon ko na lang lahat ‘yun because I never wanted to appear vindictive but itong… they are cheating the government by billions in taxes,” he added.
Duterte claimed ABS CBN had been delinquent in the payment of its taxes, from having their equipment imported tax-free, to declaring only four hectares of property when it has 40 hectares.
“Kaya talaga, hindi ako papayag. They still owe the government billions,” Duterte said.
Duterte’s insistence runs counter the Bureau of Internal Revenue‘s (BIR) findings that ABS-CBN Corp. has no tax default as it has been “regularly” paying taxes for the past years.
ABS CBN has been off the air since May 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against the media firm after its legislative franchise has expired.
In July the same year, the House of Representatives also denied ABS CBN’s bid for a new franchise, effectively shutting it down.
Duterte had said he would not allow ABS-CBN to operate even if Congress would grant the Lopez-owned network a new franchise, unless the owners pay their taxes.
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