THERE’S no way for the ABS-CBN to get a license to operate, even on the assumption that the Philippine Congress gives the giant network a new franchise to operate.
In a public address Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte hinted on preventing the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to give ABS-CBN a license to operate unless the Lopez family, who owns the giant broadcasting network gets to settle every dime it owes.
“Congress is planning to restore the franchise. Wala akong problem kung i-restore ninyo (lawmakers), but I will not allow them to operate. I will not allow the NTC to grant them the permit to operate,” Duterte said.
“Unless and until the Lopezes pay their taxes, I will ignore your franchise and I will not give them the license to operate,” Duterte added.
“That’s foolishness, it’s like giving them a prize for committing criminal acts,” the President said.
Lopez Holdings Corp., which owns ABS-CBN, said as early as 2017 that it had no outstanding loans with the DBP or other government financial institutions.
At that time, Duterte blasted the company, formerly known as Benpres, over its supposed outstanding debt with the state-owned lender. Benpres owns major shareholdings in television network ABS-CBN and in the power, property, and telecommunications sectors.
Congress in July last year ruled against the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.