2022 Philippine Elections

Pacquiao: I disagreed with Duterte on ABS-CBN shutdown

Aika Rey
Pacquiao: I disagreed with Duterte on ABS-CBN shutdown

Boxing icon and PROMDI presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao in a one-on-one interview with Nobel Prize laureate and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, at the Rappler headquarters in Pasig City on March 22, 2022.

Richel Mascarinas/PonD News Asia

''Hindi naman kasali ’yun sa galit mo, ’yung mga tao na nagtatrabaho,'' presidential bet Manny Pacquiao recalls telling the President

Editor’s Note: This story is based on #WeDecide: First 100 Days, a presidential interview series by Rappler CEO and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa. Watch the full interview with Senator Manny Pacquiao aired on Rappler’s social media channels on Monday, April 18.

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao said he opposed the President’s “decision” to shut down media giant ABS-CBN.

Pacquiao attributed the closure to the President’s grudge against ABS-CBN.

“Nag-oppose na ’ko do’n. Nag-against na ko sa desisyon ng Pangulo na ipasarado dahil pa’no naman ang mga trabahante na ilang libo? ’Yung 11,000 na employees na mawawalan ng trabaho, hindi naman kasali ’yun sa galit ’di ba?” Pacquiao said in #WeDecide: First 100 Days, an interview series with Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Maria Ressa.

Pacquiao: I disagreed with Duterte on ABS-CBN shutdown

(I opposed that. I was against the decision of the President to close down [ABS-CBN] because what about the thousands of employees? The 11,000 employees who will lose their jobs, they were not part of what angered him, right?)

Malacañang has since washed its hands on the issue of the closure of ABS-CBN, pinning the blame on the House of Representatives for its failure to approve the media giant’s franchise.

During Senate hearings in 2020, it appeared that what angered the President was the anti-Duterte ad that ran on ABS-CBN, paid for by then-senator Antonio Trillanes IV. 

“Sabi ko, [to] my surprise, ‘Hindi naman kasali ’yun sa galit mo, ’yung mga tao na nagtatrabaho. Mawawalan sila ng trabaho, kawawa naman. Tapos pandemya pa,'” Pacquiao recalled telling Duterte.

(I said, to my surprise, “They were not part of what angered you, the people who were working. They will lose their jobs, I pity them. And it’s during a pandemic.”)

Pacquiao said that the President could have gone to court or talked to ABS-CBN about it, instead of letting thousands of employees suffer. He said he hoped to see ABS-CBN back on the air because it helps provide information.

“’Yun yung stand ko no’ng araw. Eh, desisyon ng pangulo ’yan. Wala na tayong magagawa dahil nand’yan na. Pero I hope na mabalik ‘yung ABS-CBN,” he said.

(That was my stand before. But that’s the decision of the President. We cannot do anything about it because it already happened. But I hope ABS-CBN returns on the air.)

On cases filed against Rappler, Pacquiao maintained his stance that Duterte and the government should have remained cordial instead of threatening the press.

“Same thing sa Rappler din. Sa ’kin ay ginagampanan lang n’yo ang trabaho ninyo. ’Yun ang dapat respetuhin… Kung may correction naman, ’wag ‘yung in a different way na i-confront mo,” said Pacquiao.

(Same thing with Rappler. For me, you are just doing your jobs. That’s what they need to respect. If there are corrections, they shouldn’t confront it in a different way.)

He reiterated the importance of press freedom, saying that the media played a critical role in providing information.

“Kailangang malayang namamahayag… Ginagampanan ang trabaho para ma-inform ang taumbayan ano ba ang nangyayari, update sa bansa natin. Importante ’yan. Kailangan talaga,” he said.

(We need press freedom… They are doing their job by informing the public about what is happening, and updates on our country. That is really important. We need them.)

In 2021, the Philippines slipped two more places ranking 138th out of 180 nations, in the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. The main reasons were the cases against Ressa and Rappler, the shutdown of ABS-CBN, and the red-tagging of journalists. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.