President Rodrigo Duterte made it clear Friday (March 5) that he will not allow ABS-CBN to return to free television while he’s in office.
Duterte lashed out at ABS-CBN again as he accused the network’s owners, the Lopez family, of owing money to the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
“Now they don’t have a contract so they’re renegotiating. But don’t give me a piece of garbage. That’s how they are. ABS-CBN has entertained people and made children happy and I have no problem with that,” the President said in Bisaya during the joint meeting of national and regional task forces to end local communist armed conflict (ELCAC) in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.
Duterte accused the Lopezes of selling their assets to DBP after the ouster of former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. He claimed that ABS-CBN’s owners were able to buy their assets back at a lower price after some years from the state-owned bank.
“This is how they do it. When Marcos got ousted, the government returned it to them and they operated for many years. After which, they sold all their assets to the DBP. All of it – lock, stock, and barrel. They resumed business and when their business was doing well, they bought back their assets at a cheap price and sold it for a higher price. I said, ‘Ah t*** i**.’ ABS-CBN? I’ll shut you down,” Duterte said.
DBP already clarified at a January 19 congressional hearing that it did not write off P1.6 billion in bad loans owed by the Lopez family’s businesses after the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
The Lopez group’s loans were part of the P9.5 billion in bad loans that DBP sold to Lehman Brothers Asia.