FALSE: Gatchalian wants Duterte to 'explain to him' ABS-CBN franchise stance
Claim: Senator Sherwin Gatchalian supposedly wants President Rodrigo Duterte to personally explain at the Senate his position on the franchise renewal of broadcast giant ABS-CBN.
Memes and graphics cards started appearing on Facebook around Friday, February 14, with a photo of Gatchalian and the quote, "Duterte must explain to me."
One Facebook page that carried the claim is Ang Kapal Na Nga, Ang Kupal Pa. Its post last Friday has gotten at least 705 reactions, over 1,300 shares, and 744 comments as of writing.
The claim was also shared in Facebook groups like Solid Sarah Z Duterte 2022 and Bong Go 2019 Sara Duterte 2022, getting hundreds of shares and reactions as well.
A reader also emailed a link to the claim to Rappler for verification.
The facts: Gatchalian did not make such a statement about Duterte on the ABS-CBN issue.
In a statement on his Facebook page on Saturday, February 15, Gatchalian slammed the "fake news" carrying the quote, which he said he "did not say."
"Categorically and objectively speaking, I did not utter, gesture, [or] insinuate any malicious statement about the President," said Gatchalian.
Around the time the claim was shared, the Senate committee on public services led by Senator Grace Poe was looking to hold a probe into ABS-CBN's operations to determine its compliance with the terms of the franchise that Congress granted to it.
Gatchalian backed the Senate probe, and said anyone, including the President, could be invited to express their thoughts on the issue. This was reported by multiple news outlets last Thursday, February 13.
If Duterte can't be present at the Senate, his opinion can be sent to the Senate through a letter or he can be represented by his counsels in the hearing, added the senator.
"Puwede siyang imbitahan kung gusto niyang pumunta, but this is a venue para mapag-usapan (He can be invited if he wants to attend, but this is a venue to talk about the issue)," Gatchalian was quoted as saying.
ABS-CBN's franchise is set to expire on March 30. However, Duterte has threatened to block the renewal over the network's alleged failure to air his political ads for the 2016 elections and for supposed "unfair reporting." (READ: TIMELINE: Duterte against ABS-CBN's franchise renewal)
Bills have been filed in the current 18th Congress to tackle the franchise renewal. But last February 10, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court, seeking to void the franchise altogether. (READ: EXPLAINER: Legal points in Calida's quo warranto vs ABS-CBN) – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com
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