PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has renewed his threat to block the ABS-CBN Corp’s franchise, which will expire in 2020.
In his speech before newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang on Tuesday, the President said the television network should not expect its franchise to be renewed next year.
“ABS-CBN, you’re a mouthpiece of… Ang inyong franchise, mag-end next year (Your franchise will expire next year). If you are expecting ma-renew ‘yan (that it will be renewed), I’m sorry. I will see to it that you’re out,” Duterte said.
The franchise of the Lopez-led network will expire in March 2020. A bill is pending in Congress for its renewal.
Duterte has repeatedly criticized ABS-CBN for allegedly not airing a 2016 campaign that he paid for and instead showed a TV spot that was critical of him and was allegedly paid for by his critic, former senator Antonio Trillanes 4th.
Trillanes had claimed that Duterte logged about P1 billion worth of transactions using various bank accounts. The President had dismissed the allegations.
Duterte had raised the issue on several occasions and said that if he had his way, he would not hand the franchise renewal to ABS-CBN.
Under the law, radio and television broadcasters are required to seek a franchise from Congress, pursuant to Republic Act 3846. (C.S. Valente, TMT)