Drilon: I was defending press freedom
“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in a statement sent to reporters while Duterte was still delivering his address, which he started and ended by attacking the opposition senator.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File photo
Drilon: I was defending press freedom
Cecille Suerte Felipe, Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon strongly denied yesterday that he was lawyering for the Lopez family, who owns ABS-CBN, or defending oligarchs in the country, saying President Duterte’s pronouncements against him during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) have no basis.

“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect,” Drilon said in a statement sent to reporters while Duterte was still delivering his address, which he started and ended by attacking the opposition senator.

“For me, the issue of ABS-CBN is about press freedom and the unemployment of its 11,000 staff. I am not morally indebted to the Lopezes,” the senator said in Filipino during an interview with radio dzBB.

“As I had said before, for democracy to thrive, we need free press and to allow journalists to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear,” he added.

The senator underscored that in the face of a pandemic, Filipinos need more access to information, which is why he supported the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

“Undeniably, the network complements other stations in providing timely and accurate reportage even in the farthest locality unreachable to others, even to the government,” Drilon said.

“I was defending the 11,000 people and their families who would lose jobs amid the pandemic, not the Lopezes,” he added.

The senator also noted that he has nothing to do with the water concession agreement with the Ayalas.

“I can say with a clear conscience, with a straight face, I can face the Filipino people that I have nothing to do with that,” Drilon said. “I will repeatedly say I have nothing to do with that. I am not a lawyer of the Lopezes and I had left ACCRA when a (water) contract was signed.”

Facing “The Chiefs” last night on One News/TV 5, he said he was ready to undergo a lie detector test to prove this.

“I pledge by the grave of my parents, I have not seen the water concession agreement,” he said. “I think the President was misinformed about this.”

Drilon said his remarks on oligarchs and dynasties did not refer to the Duterte family, adding he never mentioned the President’s children Sara and Paolo.

“It had nothing to do with his family… that is totally untrue,” Drilon said.

He noted that he filed a bill banning political dynasties four years ago before Duterte became President. “I never mentioned his children.”

“I am not the enemy po,” Drilon said. “It is this pandemic that is the enemy.”

FRANKLIN DRILON
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with