The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said President Rodrigo Duterte has just proven that the shutdown of ABS-CBN has nothing to do with any violation of their franchise but a mere personal vendetta which was carried out by the rubberstamp Congress.
In a statement following Duterte’s most recent tirade against ABS-CBN, NUJP said they are tempted to thank the President for effectively admitting that he’s the one behind the shutdown of the Kapamilya network.
“We are tempted to thank President Rodrigo Duterte for proving us right about what we have been saying all along, that the shutdown of ABS-CBN was a personal vendetta that a lapdog Congress helped seal,” NUJP said.
[Statement] NUJP to Congress: Prove independence, grant ABS-CBN franchise
We are tempted to thank President Rodrigo Duterte for proving us right about what we have been saying all along, that the shutdown of ABS-CBN was a personal vendetta that a lapdog Congress helped seal. pic.twitter.com/d2tkr9h0xn
— NUJP (@nujp) February 9, 2021
On Monday, February 8, Duterte lashed out against ABS-CBN anew during his weekly late-night taped public address.
Duterte said that he won’t let ABS-CBN go back on the air again even if Congress decided to grant them a fresh 25-year franchise.
Duterte insisted that the Lopezes paid their tax dues first before he will let them get their permit to operate, an issue which was long settled by concerned government agencies.
During the ABS-CBN franchise renewal hearing last year no less than the BIR has already cleared of any liabilities with the tax agency.
“ABS-CBN Corporation ay (is) regularly paying taxes for the past years. Na-check naman po na ‘yung dapat nilang i-withhold at na-remit naman nila sa gobyerno (The amount that it needed to withhold had been checked and it was remitted to the government),” said BIR Assistant Commissioner Manuel Mapoy.
On the issue of Lopez’s DBP loan, the DBP has also belied accusations that they’ve condoned the loans by the Lopez Group of Companies.
“What took place was not a loan condonation, which is gratuitous to write off, rather it was a sale particularly authorized by RA 9182.
“These NPLs (non-performing loans) and NPAs (non-performing assets) were dealt with in the regular course of business and disposed of by DBP pursuant to Republic Act No. 9182, entitled The Special Purpose Vehicles Act of 2002, as amended by RA No. 9343 and other applicable laws, which authorized financial institutions, like DBP to transfer NPLs and NPAs to SPVs (special purpose vehicles) created under the Act,” said DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa.
Meanwhile, Duterte has been known for his flip-flopping stand on the ASB-CBN franchise issue.
At the onset of his Presidency, Duterte immediately launched his attacks against ABS-CBN, accusing its owners— the Lopezes— of swindling him for not airing one of his political ads during the 2016 presidential campaign.
However, after ABS-CBN President and CEO Karlo Katigbak explained what really transpired regarding the ad and apologized to Duterte for the inconvenience, Duterte said he has already forgiven ABS-CBN and that he will leave its franchise’s fate to Congress.
“Yes, I accept the apology, of course…. But, fundamentally, really, ang decision nasa (the decision is with the) House ngayon (now), not so much the Senate, because the Constitution says all of these things must originate from the lower House,”
“I tell you, I am not going to interfere, wala talaga (not at all),” said Duterte in an ambush interview in Malacanang.
But with his latest pronouncements, it really proved that Duterte is really out for vengeance against the network and its owners.