SONA 2020

Duterte attacks ABS-CBN within first 5 minutes of SONA

Camille Elemia

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Duterte attacks ABS-CBN within first 5 minutes of SONA

Malacañang file photo

(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte also hits Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for 'defending' the Lopezes

President Rodrigo Duterte wasted no time as he again lashed out at media giant ABS-CBN in the first 5 minutes of his 2020 State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27.

Duterte reiterated his years-long tirades against the embattled network and its owners, the Lopez family. (READ: Duterte to ABS-CBN: Better sell the network)

“Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who use it in their battle with political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 elections,” said Duterte. (READ: In the crosshairs of history: The Lopez family)

Duterte’s statement again contradicts Malacañang’s earlier claim that the President is “completely neutral” on the network’s issue.

Duterte hits Drilon

Duterte also slammed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for supposedly “defending” the Lopezes.

“In an interview, he arrogantly mentioned, among others, that oligarchs need not be rich. Then he linked the anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio serves as Davao City mayor, while his youngest son, Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, is the vice mayor. His older son, Paolo Duterte, is the representative of the 1st District of Davao City.

Duterte was referring to Drilon’s statement that political dynasties must be banned to truly dismantle oligarchy in the country. 

“This happened after the committee on [legislative] franchises voted to deny the grant of franchise to ABS-CBN. Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs,” Duterte added.

The senator then was reacting to Duterte’s claim that he “dismantled the oligarchy that controlled the economy” after the rejection of the ABS-CBN franchise application.

Drilon denied Duterte’s accusations during the SONA.

“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect. In the face of a pandemic, we need more access to information….I was defending the 11,000 people and their families who would lose jobs  amid the pandemic, not the Lopezes,” Drilon said in a statement. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.