Monday, 10 August, 2020


Philippines: Duterte Seeks to Shut Network

Philippines president Duterte has been criticising ABS-CBN since 2017 accusing the network of bias and supposedly not airing his advertisements when he was campaigning as president Philippine government asks court to shut down leading TV network
Bennie Garza | 13 February, 2020, 11:54

THE Supreme Court (SC) asked ABS-CBN Corp. and its unit ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc.to comment on the petition of the state's top lawyer to cancel the Lopez-led network's franchise, as lawmakers stepped in to assert their authority over franchises.

"Si Calida, may sariling pag-iisip 'yan (Calida has his own mind) and the President has nothing to do with the quo warranto", Go, the president's former aide, told reporters.

The OSG declined to give copies of the petition to the media, but in his written statement, Calida claimed that ABS-CBN is hiding foreign ownership stakes behind a corporate veil.

"Solicitor General Jose Calida should withdraw his legal threat against ABS-CBN, and refrain from any action that puts undue pressure on the news broadcaster's franchise renewal", said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative.

"He did not say anything".

"Alam mo, trabaho ng Solicitor General na maghain ng anumang petisyon pagka mayroon paglabag sa batas", Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview with DZMM.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines attacked the movement against the network. It stipulates that mass media ownership and management should be limited to Filipino citizens.

It also added that the country's Securities and Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange approved the company's Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs), which allows foreign investments. "We call on our Supreme Court Justices to side with the people's right to truthful and independent news, the Constitution and democracy", FOCAP said.

Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said the process of the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN should be monitored.

This proves without a doubt that this government is hellbent on using all its powers to shut down the broadcast network whose franchise renewal, now pending in Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte has personally vowed to block.

But critics of President Duterte say he is on the warpath against media entities that have questioned his drug war, which has drawn worldwide condemnation.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon said the petition of the Office of the Solicitor General will become moot and academic if the franchise is not renewed, with barely 50 days until the franchise of ABS-CBN expires.

All of ABS-CBN's social media properties later changed profile pictures with the motto "In the service of the Filipino people" against a black background. Navallo responded: "I was just doing my job".

"Now, if the Congress will grant the franchise, it must be Congress which will hear of the arguments of the alleged violation of the existing franchise and take this into account in renewing or not renewing the franchise of ABS-CBN".

The clamor of some people for the continued operations of ABS-CBN should therefore not be addressed to the President nor to any official or agency of the Executive Branch. Last year, he allowed the legislative franchises of TV5 network, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines and other broadcast outfits to lapse into law.

Felipe F. Salvosa II is coordinator of the University of Santo Tomas journalism programme.

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