PRRD nixes ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

December 4, 2019, 7:39 am

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday announced that he is not bent on granting the renewal of the 25-year congressional franchise to local broadcast network ABS-CBN.

Duterte made the pronouncement before the newly-appointed government officials, as he was still irked by ABS-CBN's supposed bias by slanting reports about him.

"ABS-CBN, you're a mouthpiece of… Ang inyong franchise, mag-end next year (Your franchise will end next year)," Duterte said in a speech delivered at the Palace's Heroes Hall.

"If you are expecting na ma-renew iyan (that it will be renewed), I'm sorry, you're out. I will see to it na (that) you're out," he added.

ABS-CBN's franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020.

Several bills have been filed at the House of Representatives, seeking the renewal of the local media giant's congressional franchise.

However, the House franchise committee has not tabled the proposed measures for discussion.

Radio and television broadcast firms in the country are required to seek a franchise from Congress, pursuant to Republic Act 3846.

On November 4, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano admitted that he had "personal" objections to ABS-CBN's franchise renewal because of the company's leaders who "interfered unjustly".

In his latest speech, Duterte lambasted ABS-CBN anew for alleged failure to air his paid advertisements on television during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The President said he would not change his mind, despite the news outfit's persistence to come to him "begging".

"Ilan kaming mga kandidato na kinuha ninyo ang pera namin (You took my money, as well as the other candidates), but never aired our propaganda," he said.

On August 3 last year, Duterte revealed that ABS-CBN kept on sending emissary to his office to negotiate the renewal of its franchise. (PNA)