Friday, February 21, 2020

Panelo: Duterte's threats vs ABS-CBN not literal

 Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Friday said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated threats against media network ABS-CBN are not to be taken seriously.

“You know, the president made utterances against ABS-CBN. He made certain statements like 'I'll shut down.' But hindi naman literal 'yun eh (that’s not even literal). He wants to shut down the fraudulent practices of your network,” Panelo said in an interview with ANC.
The spokesman cited Duterte’s complaint that the network failed to air political ads that had been paid for.

“You cannot deprive this man from expressing his displeasure, or disgust, or anger when he is a victim of fraud... Pero walang kinalaman 'yun sa pag-grant or pag-renew (but that has nothing to do with the granting or renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise) because that is the job of Congress.”

Consistent threats
Whether the media network’s operations will continue after the franchise expires after March 30 is still in question, with just a little over a month left for Congress to pass the required legislation.
A congressional franchise bill needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it is transmitted to the Senate. The version of the bill approved by both chambers would then still need the president’s approval.

RELATED: What are ABS-CBN’s chances of renewing its franchise?
Duterte, however, has repeatedly criticized ABS-CBN and stated that he is determined to block the renewal of its franchise.

“Ang inyong franchise mag-end (your franchise will end) next year. If you are expecting na ma-renew 'yan (its renewal), I'm sorry. You're out. I will see to it that you're out,” the president said in December 2019.
RELATED: Ika-3 banta ni Duterte sa ABS-CBN maaring dahil sa 'drug war' coverage — watchdog

Previously, the president said he disapproves of the renewal of the media company’s franchise but would not meddle in renewal talks.

“Now, ABS-CBN, their franchise is due for renewal... But I will never also intervene. But if I had my way, I will not give it back to you,” Duterte said in August 2018.
RELATED: Duterte: If I had my way, I won't renew ABS-CBN's franchise

In May 2017, Duterte also threatened to file charges of multiple syndicated estafa against the network over the mentioned political advertisements.
“Then money came, I pleaded to you because I did not have the money, I did not have any historical propaganda TV. I said, ‘Could you accommodate it?’” Duterte said, referring to ABS-CBN.

RELATED: Duterte to file multiple syndicated estafa vs ABS-CBN
Waiting game
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said that the House of Representatives may wait until August before tackling legislation on ABS-CBN's congressional franchise renewal.

He said that the media network would still be allowed to operate beyond its term which will end on March 30, as long as the House is deliberating bills on its franchise.
RELATED: NTC asks DOJ: Can ABS-CBN operate sans franchise?

However, Congress is usually occupied on the national budget following the presidential State of the Nation Address in July yearly.

Moreover, with the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque), brokered by the president himself, the lower chamber could see a change in leadership by October.