Duterte tells ABS-CBN owners to sell network
By Azer Parrocha
MANILA — With three months left before the franchise of local broadcast network ABS-CBN expires, President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday advised owners of the TV giant to just sell the network.
“Itong ABS, mag-expire ang contract ninyo. Mag-renew kayo, ewan ko lang kung may mangyari diyan. Kung ako sa inyo, ipagbili niyo na ‘yan (This ABS-CBN, your contract is about to expire. If you ask for a renewal, I don’t know what’s going to happen. If I were you, I would just sell it),” Duterte said in a speech in North Cotabato.
“Kasi ang mga Pilipino ngayon lang makaganti sa inyong kalokohan (Because it’s only now that Filipinos can seek redress for your misconduct). I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever,” he added.
On Dec. 4, Duterte said he is not bent on granting the renewal of the 25-year congressional franchise to ABS-CBN, still irked by the network’s supposed bias including alleged unfair reports about him and failure to run his paid political advertisements during the 2016 presidential race.
He said he would not change his mind, despite the news outfit’s persistence to come to him “begging”.
Unless the Congress grants its renewal, ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020.
Several bills have been filed at the House of Representatives, seeking the renewal of the local media giant’s congressional franchise.
A congressional franchise bill needs to be first approved by the House before it can be transmitted to the Senate.
Once approved by both chambers, it will be submitted to the President to sign the measure into law. Duterte, however, has the power to veto bills that Congress approves.
Radio and television broadcast firms in the country are required to seek a franchise from Congress, pursuant to Republic Act 3846.
Earlier, Panelo explained that he would let the lawmakers exercise their independence to decide on whether or not to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.
He also denied that Duterte’s pronouncement against ABS-CBN was part of the President’s “political vendetta,” as claimed by detained Senator Leila de Lima.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar, however, said ABS-CBN still has other options, should it fail to renew its congressional franchise.
“I’m sure ABS-CBN can find a way how to distribute their content if they lose their franchise,” Andanar said.
ABS-CBN is primarily involved in content creation and production for television, online, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, cable, satellite, cinema, live events, and radio for domestic and international markets, according to its website.
It also operates various platforms, including domestic television, radio networks, worldwide OTT, and online platforms, among others.
Meanwhile, Duterte also accused broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer of being a “mouthpiece of the oligarchs” for supposedly being silent and protecting the business interests of water concessionaires.
“Wala kayong imik kasi kayo ang mouthpiece ng mga oligarch sa Pilipinas (in the Philippines). Kayong mga p*t*ngina sa Inquirer. Binabayaran kayo (You are the mouthpiece of oligarchs. You are being paid.) You are no better than a prostitute. You sell your talent to the rich against the poor,” Duterte said. (PNA)