Duterte on ABS-CBN Franchise: 'Kalokohan Yan'
President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he would not allow ABS-CBN to secure a new permit from the National Telecommunications Commission until the Lopez family pays all their "taxes."
But in February 2020, the Bureau of Internal Revenue cleared the network of any outstanding obligations, saying ABS-CBN has been regularly paying its taxes.
ABS-CBN went off the air in May 2020 following the expiration of its franchise. In July 2020, the network lost its franchise bid in Congress, forcing it to lay off many of its workers in the middle of the pandemic. Among the issues raised by lawmakers during its franchise hearing was the network's alleged tax delinquencies.
Duterte mentioned ABS-CBN towards the tail-end of his weekly address to the nation on COVID-19. The House of Representatives denied ABS-CBN application for a franchise renewal last year, effectively taking it off free TV. A bill was filed recently in the Senate for a new license for the network.
"I will not allow the NTC to grant them the permit to operate," Duterte said.
"Unless and until, mabayaran ng mga Lopez ang taxes nila, I will ignore your franchise and I will not give them the license to operate," he said. "Kalokohan 'yan, parang binigyan mo sila ng prize for committing criminal acts."
This story originally appeared on Reportr.World. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.