President Duterte is not done with his tirades against ABS-CBN network, hitting its owners for issuing an apology but later on denying their faults.
In a speech in Cagayan de Oro, Duterte recalled how ABS-CBN apologized for their shortcomings last year before they were forced to cease their free-TV operations due to their expired franchise.
“Sila pay ga-apologize. Headline, nasa front page (They even apologized. It was in the headlines and on the front page),” he said.
“Oh og di ka guilty, nganong mo-apologize ka man? Mao pud ng ABS-CBN, si Gabby [Lopez]. Naghimo siya og front page. Nangayo pud siya’g pasaylo. Ngano man? Sa ilang mga sayop. Karon, di na moangkon (If you’re not guilty, why should you apologize? The same with ABS-CBN, Gabby. He made headlines. He also issued an apology. Why? For their faults. And now they are denying everything),” he added.
According to the President, when the government returned ABS-CBN to its owners after the network was sequestered by the Marcos administration, the company sold all their assets, brought them back for a cheap price, and sold them again for a higher price.
“They sold all their assets to the DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines). All of it – lock, stock, and barrel. They resumed business and when their business was doing well, they bought back their assets at a cheap price and sold it for a higher price,” Duterte said in Bisaya.
“I said, ‘Ah t*** i**.’ ABS-CBN? I’ll shut you down,” he added.
However, President Duterte said he was not against ABS-CBN making people happy with their programs.
“ABS-CBN nakalingaw sa tao, walay problema na. Nakalipay sa mga bata, way problema na (ABS-CBN has entertained people and made children happy and I have no problem with that),” he said.
Last month, President Duterte said he will order the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to not grant ABS-CBN a license to operate even if it is able to obtain a new franchise unless the company pays its taxes after lawmakers moved to give the broadcast giant a new franchise.
Duterte likewise claimed that the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) condoned or wrote off loans worth P1.6 billion in 2006 from businesses of the Lopez family, an allegation that the DBP already denied last month.
Duterte said he may just pass the information he received about the DBP and ABS-CBN to the Ombudsman.
ABS-CBN lost its franchise in July last year, two months after it ceased from airing over free TV. Last month, Senate President Tito Sotto filed a bill seeking to give ABS-CBN a fresh franchise. However, the House of Representatives on February 1 archived the bill granting the company a provisional franchise.
President Duterte has denied his involvement in the fate of ABS-CBN’s franchise. The President had threatened to shut down the network after accusing it of not airing his paid political ads during the presidential campaign in 2016.