Duterte insists Congress, not he, shut down ABS-CBN

Published July 15, 2020, 5:23 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has strongly denied he was behind the shutdown of ABS-CBN network despite complaining that the station has supposedly besmirched him.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

The President defended himself from criticisms linking him to the network’s closure, insisting that it was Congress that decided to deny the franchise renewal application of the company. 

Duterte made the remarks before an assembly of government troops in Jolo, Sulu last Monday. His comments, however, were removed by the Palace in the final speech that aired on television the next day.

“Itong may isa pang ano human right na regional, puti. Sabi niya ako raw ang nagpasara sa ABS-CBN. P***** i*** malay ko? Nagpasara niyan Congress. Asshole talaga ang gago. Ganun ‘yung puti. Sobra (There is a western human right advocate who alleged I closed down ABS-CBN. Son of a b**** what do I know? Congress shut it down. That fool is an a**h****. That’s how white people are, they are a bit much),” he said towards the end of his speech.

The free television and radio stations of ABS-CBN Corporation will remain off air after failing to secure a fresh 25-year franchise from Congress. The House committee on legislative franchises passed on Friday a resolution denying the franchise bid of the network, saying it was “undeserving” of such franchise.

Several lawmakers, journalists, and rights advocates have denounced the rejection of the ABS-CBN franchise, expressing concern about its adverse impact on press freedom as well as on the welfare of thousands of workers.

The President, in his remarks in Jolo, said he can die happy after dismantling the country’s oligarchy without having to declare martial law. He alleged that the oligarchs have controlled the economy, failed to pay proper taxes, and influenced the elections. 

“‘Yun namang ABS-CBN, binaboy ako. Pero sinabi ko kapag ako nanalo, bubuwagin ko ang oligarchy ng Pilipinas. Ginawa ko (ABS-CBN has defiled me.  But I said when I win, I will dismantle the oligarchy in the Philippines. I did it),” Duterte said.

The Palace later clarified that the President was referring to tycoons Lucio Tan, Manny Pangilinan and the Ayalas, not the Lopezes, in his fresh tirade against the oligarchs. The President’s conflict with Tan supposedly eased when he offered to pay airport tax liabilities. Duterte also reconsidered his stance after  two water concessionaires operated by Pangilinan and the Ayalas agreed to amend the controversial water deals.

On the Lopez family, Roque claimed that they “have not been dismantled” and still have “other businesses.”

“They have FirstGen, they are still a major player and the only player as far as LNG is concerned. They are still active in real state, they still have Rockwell.  What their loss is, their ABS-CBN and it’s because they have no franchise,” Roque said over ANC’s Headstart Wednesday.