Duterte threatens to block franchise of ABS-CBN
President Duterte on Thursday stepped up his attack on the media, threatening to block the renewal of ABS-CBN television’s franchise when it expires in 2020.
Mr. Duterte again accused the giant network of estafa for supposedly not providing him the airtime he had paid for.
ABS-CBN is a listed company and operates TV channels, radio stations and a website.
Mr. Duterte brought up the fact that the franchise was up for renewal after he was asked if he would take legal action against the network for supposed estafa.
He said its franchise was fine as long as it adhered to journalistic standards. But he said he would block the franchise renewal when asked by reporters.
“Yes. If you’re like that, you are engaged in swindling. For all you know, how many companies paid you and you did not air it?” he said.
If ABS-CBN would just swindle people, he would have to stop it, he added.
ABS-CBN did not immediately return the Inquirer’s calls for comment. But ABS-CBN chair Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez earlier said the President’s tirades against the network were “part and parcel of our work being a media institution.”
Lopez had also noted that the network had yet to encounter an administration that did not have a problem with the media, including ABS-CBN.
Mr. Duterte earlier accused ABS-CBN and Inquirer of putting out slanted stories against him and castigated them for reporting on allegations made by Sen. Antonio Trillanes that he had P200 million in bank accounts.
He did not spare the Inquirer in his rants on Thursday, and said he would go after the Prieto family over the leased Mile Long property in Makati.
The Prietos are the majority owners of the Inquirer.
The Mile Long property referred to by the President is the subject of a lease agreement entered into by the company with the government in 1980. Since the deal is subject to a court case, Mile Long has refrained from discussing its merits further.
Mr. Duterte’s tirades were not limited to local media.
On Thursday, he also called The New York Times an “asshole” for coming up with an editorial critical of him and the killings that have taken place under his presidency.
He said the newspaper must stop publishing, pointing out that it could not criticize America’s mistakes.
“You cannot even criticize your own mistake. Invading a country, making up excuses before the world that is not true, then you have the gall to say stop. You better stop your publishing,” he said.