President Rodrigo Duterte presided over the National Task Force – Regional Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict in Northern Mindanao on Friday, March 5 in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.
In said event, Duterte continued his rant against the Lopez-owned network ABS-CBN.
He mentioned that the station should not have problems, to begin with. However, Duterte accused the Lopezes that they regained control of the network shortly after Marcos was ousted.
“ABS-CBN ang nagpapasaya sa tao wala ng problema. Nakakapag-bigay ligaya sa mga bata, walang problema na. Ang problema ganito ang style nila—’yung dati bago pa lang napalayas si Marcos binalik sila,” said Duterte in Cebuano.
Duterte was mad about how ABS-CBN sold their assets to the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). Moreover, the President accused the Lopezes of selling their assets for a high price before buying them again at a cheaper price.
“They operated it ng ilang taon. Tapos binenta nila sa DBP ang lahat ng kanilang assets. Lahat! Lock, stock and barrel. Pagkatapos ang negosyo naging ok, binili nila ng mura tapos binenta ng mahal. Saan ang ABS, ABS dyan? Ipasara ko kayo!” he added.
However, In June 2020, ABS-CBN vice-chairman Augusto “Jake” Almeda-Lopez cleared the allegations that the network was returned to them by the Aquino Administration after former President Ferdinand Marcos seized it.
“Hindi sinauli sa amin ng Marcos ang istasyon, nakuha namin sa aming sariling sikap kasama ‘yung forces ni Enrile at Ramos,” said Almeda-Lopez in front of lawmakers in the seventh legislative hearing for ABS-CBN’s franchise application. “We went into arbitration because [of] the desire of both parties – the Malacañang group and the Lopez group – that let us present this to a neutral body and let them be the one to resolve this problem.”
Rep. Edcel Lagman has also reiterated court decisions that the return of the broadcast facilities to the Lopezes was legal. These decisions were also not challenged for the past 30 years.
Also, Republic Act No. 7966, which was approved on March 30, 1995, sealed the deal that the Lopez family has reacquired ABS-CBN with them having legislative franchise for 25 years.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and PCGG have previously stated that the compromise agreement between the Cory administration and ABS-CBN is binding.
“It is the law between the parties, it is res adjudicata between the parties, and if there is a judgment rendered approving the compromise agreement then it can be enforced and executed,” said PCGG commissioner John Agbayani during the June 15 hearing.
“If the decision is not appealed by any of the parties, it becomes final and executory. And if that’s the case, it cannot be questioned again later on,” added Justice Asec. Nicholas Ty on the same hearing.
Furthermore, on January 18, 2021, DBP denied that they have written off the loans of ABS-CBN.
DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa denied that the state-owned bank condoned or wrote off loans by the Lopez Group of Companies during the early 2000s.
Herbosa explained, that the loans made by the Lopezes were considered “bad loans”. Hence, they “sold” it to Lehman Brothers, a global financial firm, through the special purpose vehicle (SPV) companies.
“The law provided the avenue for Philippine banks to dispose [of] non-performing assets to be more liquid…. It’s not a loan condonation, we sold it with a P3.83-billion bid in favor of DBP,” said Herbosa.
Affirming the claim of DBP is Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, who added that Republic Act No. 9182 or the SPV Act of 2002 has awarded tax exemptions and fee privileges to SPVs for financial institutions to settle bad loans and non-performing assets.
Back in the early 2000s, the world economy crashed, forcing governments to find ways to support financial institutions.