President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers a speech during the 11th Biennial National Convention and 22nd founding anniversary of the Chinese Filipino Business Club, Inc. at The Manila Hotel on February 10, 2020. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he would not allow the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant ABS-CBN a license to operate unless the Lopez family paid taxes.

“Wala akong problema doon kung i-restore ninyo. But if you say that if they can operate kung may [franchise] na sila, no, I will not allow them,” Duterte asserted in a televised briefing.

“I will not allow the NTC to grant them the permit to operate. Kung ibigay ninyo ‘yung franchise because it is within your power to do it, go ahead. Alam mo bakit? Unless and until mabayaran ng mga Lopez ang taxes nila, I will not — I will ignore your franchise and I will not give them the license to operate. Kalokohan ‘yan.”

On July 10, 2020, House lawmakers including several allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has had shaky relations with the network, voted to deny ABS-CBN Corp.’s bid for a new 25-year broadcasting franchise.

In December 2019, Duterte said he would see to it that ABS-CBN would not be granted a new franchise for not airing his TV advertisements during the 2016 election, and accused it of “biased” reporting.

The NTC is under the Office of the President.

“Parang binigyan mo sila ng prize for their being — for committing criminal acts. Iyong — ito ‘yung pinagbili ng ano, pinagbili ng Lopez iyong Lopez companies kasi maraming utang. So binili nila na lahat — pati ‘yung mga utang, pinagbili ng Lopez doon sa DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines),” Duterte added.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III recently filed a bill seeking to renew the broadcasting franchise of ABS-CBN. John Ezekiel J. Hirro