By Corina Oliquino i FilAm Star Correspondent

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said last August 3 that he is personally against the renewal of the franchise of broadcast network ABS-CBN, accusing them of swindling.

According to The Philippine Star, in a speech full of expletives, Duterte cited his previous allegation that the Network failed to air his political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign even though they were already paid.

Duterte added that the Lopez family, the owners of the network, had been sending representatives to his office to negotiate, but he refused to talk to them.

“Now, ABS-CBN, their franchise is due for renewal. But I will never also intervene. But if I had my way, I will not give it back to you,” Duterte said.

The broadcast network’s franchise expires in 2020 and House Bill 4349 proposing to extend the media giant’s franchise by another 25 years, is currently pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.

Duterte first expressed his opposition to the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise on April 27 last year, days after he signed a law renewing rival GMA Network Inc.’s franchise.

In an ambush interview with reporters in Malacañang, Duterte accused the Network of swindling, supposedly for not airing a political ad that was already paid for by his campaign.

When asked if he had plans to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, he replied, “Yes.”

“If ganoon ka kaano, you’re engaged in swindling for all we know ilang kompanya dito na hindi n’yo pinalabas. If you operate, ABS-CBN, tapos manloloko lang kayo ng tao, mag-swindling kayo, I have to stop you, ‘di ba?” Duterte said.

On March 30 last year, Duterte attacked ABS-CBN anew, this time with the inclusion of domestic newspaper The Philippine Daily Inquirer for their supposed “unfair” and “slanted” reporting of his administration, adding that corrupt media “ails the Philippine society.”

Meanwhile, in December 2017, President Duterte said he was willing to enter into a compromise deal with ABS-CBN if the network would “promote his bid for a shift to a federal form of government.”

“Kung magtulong kayo diyan sa federal system campaign at gawain ninyong slogan also for the unity and to preserve this Republic, makipag-areglo ako,” Duterte said in a speech at the PDP-Laban’s Christmas Benefit Dinner for Marawi at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City according to GMA News.

“Just dedicate a portion of your time, your expensive and precious time on TV, help us promote federalism, only the good ones. But if you think that it is not into your system, fine,” Duterte added.

In Malacañang, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte was “inviting media to be his partner in disseminating the benefits of federalism.”

“So, there will be intensified dissemination activities to explain to the people the need for federalism,” Roque said at a press briefing on December 21, 2017.

In another report by GMA News, Lopez Holdings Corp. previously stated that it does not have any unpaid obligation to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) or other government financial institutions after Duterte announced on August 30, 2017 that he was going after the holdings company over supposed debt to the state-owned lender.

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