President President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday told the executives of ABS-CBN to sell the broadcast giant three months before its franchise expires because it is not going to be renewed.
He also accused the Philippine Daily Inquirer of being a “mouthpiece of oligarchs.”
President Duterte had previously told ABS-CBN that he would not renew its franchise even if Congress is mandated by the Constitution to enact the franchise bills pending before it.
“Your contract will expire, ABS-CBN. If you renew it, I don’t know what will happen. If I were you, I would sell it,” Duterte said.
If the franchise is not granted, the country’s largest network will have to close down its television and radio operations by March 20, 2020.
Last November, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said he had a “personal complaint” against the bill that would renew ABS-CBN‘s franchise”•even as he promised the House”•which is dominated by Duterte’s allies”•would be fair in tackling the measure.
Duterte and Cayetano, who were running mates in the 2016 elections, claim that ABS-CBN did not air their paid political advertisements, and that some leaders of the broadcast giant meddled unjustly during the campaign.
The threats came amid reports that Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, who has close ties with Duterte, recently formed the Udenna Communications Media and Entertainment Holdings Corp.
Meanwhile, Duterte also slammed the Inquirer for allegedly favoring the oligarchs, even as he again expressed his rage over the government deals with Maynilad and Manila Water in the same speech.
“You are no better than a prostitute. You sell your talent to the rich against the poor,” he said.
Duterte’s tirades against the media are nothing new. Even before his presidency, he had been known to lash out at the media with strong statements during press briefings and even challenging reporters in coverages.