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Press freedom ain’t under threat! Panelo delivers sick burn to Karen Davila: ‘Pag nawala ABS-CBN, may radyo, TV pa rin!

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Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo shot down allegations that the possible non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise is tantamount to an attack on press freedom.

Panelo disputed the connection between press freedom and ABS-CBN’s franchise woes in an interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s “Headstart” Friday (February 21).

The Palace official said he was amused by individuals and groups trying to make ABS-CBN’s franchise problem as a press freedom issue.

“O sige, ipagpalagay natin nawala ang ABS—hindi, teka
muna. Ipagpalagay natin nawala ang ABS-CBN, are you telling me na
namatay na ang freedom of the press? Of course not! Ang daming
networks, ang daming radyo,” he said.

Panelo, a lawyer, aded that ABS-CBN can find a way to exist even if its franchise expires.

“Nandiyan pa rin and ABS-CBN can always… alam mo na, kadali lang naman gawan ng paraan ‘yan eh. Ibenta mo lang pagkatapos ikaw rin pala may hawak,” he said.

When Davila told Panelo to “stick to the issue” of press freedom, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson shot back: “Tell me, bakit konektado sa freedom of the press at bakit konektado si Presidente, sige nga?”

Davila then tried a different tack by saying there was a “curtailing”- presumably of press freedom— if ABS-CBN shuts down.

Panelo, however, said there would be nothing wrong if ABS-CBN goes off the air due to its perceived violations.

“Where is the curtailing, I cannot see the curtailing, where is the curtailing there? If you violate a provision of a law and that will be the result of your violation, how can that be” he said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court seeking to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise. The network’s application to extend its franchise for another 25 years is also in limbo as the House of Representatives has yet to tackle bills about it.

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