Duterte: If it were up to me, no ABS-CBN franchise renewal

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte repeated his threat to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, a media network he has accused of "swindling" and of biased reporting.

"Now, ABS-CBN, their franchise is due for renewal. They sent emissaries to me. They sent Gabby away because nothing will happen. I will not talk to you, but I will also never intervene. But if I had my way, I would not give it back to you," he said on Friday, August 3 in a mix of Engish and Filipino.

"Magnanakaw kayo eh, linoloko niyo 'yung maliliit (You are thieves, you trick the small people)," he added during his speech at the inauguration of a drug rehabilitation facility in Bukidnon.

The current franchise of ABS-CBN is set to expire in 2020. House Bill 4349 seeking to renew the franchise granted to ABS-CBN for 25 years is still at the committee level. 

The President then challenged ABS-CBN executives to let him slap them if records show he has less than P40 million in his bank accounts.

"This is a challenge which I am hurling at you now. Punta tayo ng Central Bank tayo pagkatapos sabihin ko buksan yung computer at tingnan ko yung account. 'Pag ka sumobra ng P40 million, I will step down. But kung hindi umabot ng P40 million, maglinya kayo diyan at sampalin ko kayo," he said.

(Let's go to Central Bank and then I'll tell them to open the computer and look at my account. If it exceeds P40 million, I will step down. But if it doesn't rach P40 million, line up so I can slap you.)

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV alleged that Duterte has around P1 billion worth of transactions using various bank accounts. Overall Deputy Ombudsman Arthur Carandang had also said the Office of the Ombudsman also had documents of bank transactions that showed the same thing.

This statement was what prompted Malacañang to dismiss him. Carandang was leading the probe into Duterte's supposedly hidden wealth. The probe was terminated after the Anti-Money Laundering Council refused to cooperate.

In his Friday speech, Duterte also again brought up his grievances against the Prieto family, owners of the Philippine Daily Inquirer– Rappler.com


Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.