Former President Rodrigo Duterte admitted that he used his presidential powers to attack media giant ABS-CBN and push Congress to kill its franchise.
In a speech on Monday, June 27 during the oath-taking of Davao City officials in Davao City, Duterte made a categorical statement concerning his role in the ABS-CBN shutdown.
The former President reiterated his claims about the network’s alleged non-payment of tax which was already debunked by the BIR.
“Kaya tinira ko talaga sila (ABS-CBN). Talagang I used the presidential powers to tell Congress that you are dealing with scoundrels and if you continue to kowtow with them, kawawa ang Pilipino.”
Durterte’s belated confession belied former Palace mouthpiece Harry Roque’s insistent remarks that Duterte has nothing to do with Congress’ action to deny ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application.
In his statement in May 2020 following the Kapamilya network’s shutdown, Roque said that Duterte will not meddle in the job of Congress to grant a franchise.
“I think getting the franchise could be a speedier remedy for ABS-CBN, and that is why the President has asked me to tell the lawmakers that he is absolutely neutral in this regard. There is no double speak here. The congressmen can vote according to their conscience, and the President will not take it against them.”
However, as early as 2017, Duterte publicly pronounced his opposition against the network accusing ABS-CBN of swindling when it failed to air Duterte’s campaign ads. The network executives however apologized and explained that it was due to airtime limitations and that they vowed to return the money but Duterte disagreed to accept the payment.
In 2019, Duterte repeated his tirade against the Kapamilya network saying he will make sure ABS-CBN will be out.
“ABS-CBN, ang inyong franchise, mag-end next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew ‘yan, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out.”
In February 2021, he renewed his attack saying he won’t let ABS-CBN operate again even if Congress voted to renew its franchise.
“I have no problem if you (Congress) restore it,” said Duterte in his late-night public address, “But if you say that they can operate if they already have it (franchise), no, I will not allow them.”
ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5, 2020, following the cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission.
On July 10, 2020, the network’s franchise was killed by the congress through the vote of 70 Cayetano-led and Duterte-allied congressmen.