Duterte threatens to block ABS-CBN franchise renewal

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened to block the bill seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise to operate a broadcast betwork.

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Duterte said in a news conference that he would block the renewal over alleged “swindling.”

“[The franchise] has been there for 25 years. The law said it’s okay, only if you adhere to journalistic standards.
What did you do to us? Estafa, swindling, not only me but Chiz Escudero, many of us. Son of a bitch, you collected outright then you commit estafa,” Duterte said.

The President claimed the network did not show his political ads during the 2016 campaign period although his campaign team had paid for the air time.

“So I will file a complaint. Congress, no need to renew it. But to operate is something else, so I will point this out, your garbage, then we’ll see,” he added.

Asked if he would “block” the franchise of ABS-CBN, which expires in 2020, Duterte said, “Yes, if you’re engaged in swindling.”

House Bill 4349, filed by Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago in November 2016, seeks to renew the network’s original franchise, which expires on March 30, 2020. It is pending at the committee level.

Specifically, the bill aims to “renew ABS-CBN’s right to operate TV and radio broadcasting stations in the Philippines through microwave, satellite or whatever means, including the use of new technologies in television and radio systems.”

The bill was filed in the previous 16th Congress by Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela.

The network has yet to release a formal statement on Duterte’s latest tirades.

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