President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the distribution of the Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City on Dec. 23, 2019.
Ace Morandante/Presidential Photo
Duterte tells ABS-CBN owners to just sell the TV network
Alexis Romero ( - December 30, 2019 - 3:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — Three months before the expiration of ABS-CBN's franchise, President Rodrigo Duterte Monday said the television network should just be sold as he vowed to give its owners an episode they won't forget.

Duterte, who has accused ABS-CBN of biased reporting and of "swindling" him for not airing his campaign commercial, said there is no assurance that the network's franchise would be renewed. The Lopez-owned network's franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020.

"Your contract is about to expire. You will try to renew it but I don't know what will happen to that," the president said during his visit to earthquake victims in M'lang, North Cotabato.

"Kung ako sa inyo ipagbili niyo na 'yan. Kasi ang mga Filipino ngayon lang makaganti sa inyong kalokohan (If I were you, I would sell it. It's only now that Filipinos would be able to get back at your wrongdoings). And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever," he added.

Duterte claimed previous presidents did not act against the interests of some businesses because they were afraid of ABS-CBN.

Duterte had claimed that ABS-CBN did not return the money he paid for campaign commercials even if the advertisements did not air. He had also accused the network of magnifying "garbage" stories peddled by his critics.

Earlier this month, Duterte vowed to block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise.

"I will see to it that you're out," he said in a speech delivered in Malacañang last December 3.

Duterte blasts Inquirer

Duterte also accused broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer of being a "mouthpiece" of oligarchs.

"You son of a b****, Inquirer, everyone. You are silent. Because you are the mouthpiece of oligarchs in the Philippines. You son of a b**** Inquirer, you are on the take," the president said.  

"You are no better than a prostitute. You sell your talent to the rich. Against the poor. Yan. That's why I have always been angry with the rich," he added.

Duterte claimed owners of the broadsheet have used their influence to evade taxes.

"They did not pay taxes, just like donut, just like Inquirer," the president said, apparently referring to the Prietos, the family that owns the broadsheet and the
exclusive Philippine franchisee of Dunkin' Donuts.

Duterte had claimed that the Prietos only paid P8 million to settle a P1 billion tax deficiency of Dunkin Donuts during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 2, 2020 - 9:00am

President Duterte threatens not to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, his latest in what critics call a string of verbal attacks against dissenting media.

January 2, 2020 - 9:00am

The House of Representatives assures ABS-CBN that it would be fair and objective in reviewing its application for renewal of franchise.

Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said reminded the network that the grant of franchise is not a right but a privilege.

"This is why we have to hear all sides, and find out if ABS-CBN violated the provisions of its franchise," Alvarez said in a statement.

December 30, 2019 - 2:45pm

President Duterte tells ABS-CBN owners to just sell the network.

"Kung ako sa inyo, ipagbili niyo na 'yan. Kasi ang mga Filipino ngayon lang makaganti sa inyong kalokohan. And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever," he says.



December 6, 2019 - 12:48pm

The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, calls the threat not to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN as a form of censorship by the Philippine government.

"CPJ called the Presidential Spokesman’s Office for comment on Duterte’s remarks, but no one answered," the group says in a news release dated December 5. The CPJ is an American independent press freedom watchdog.

“Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should walk back his politicized threat to shut down news broadcaster ABS-CBN, and should steer clear of intervening in its franchise renewal," says Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Duterte’s threats aim to encourage self-censorship, and must stop now.”

December 5, 2019 - 8:09am

The Human Rights Watch calls out President Rodrigo Duterte for "misusing" the government’s regulatory powers "to settle a score" with ABS-CBN.

Duterte, this week, threatened to shut down the TV network for the third time, accusing it of unfair reporting and allegedly taking his advertising money in the 2016 elections but then failing to run his political ads.

"But perhaps the real reason for these threats is ABS-CBN’s critical reporting of Duterte, particularly his murderous 'war on drugs.' The network has aired and published award-winning reports on the extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users by the police," HRW Asia Division Researcher Carlos Conde says.

"These actions are part of a broader crackdown on media outlets and civil society groups that dare criticize him. Philippine congress members should resist the president’s effort to shut down ABS-CBN. Appeasing a vindictive president who is hell-bent on frustrating accountability for his policies will have far-reaching implications for media freedom, human rights, and democracy in the Philippines."

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