President Rodrigo Duterte has nothing to do with the alleged move of the Office of the Solicitor General to ask the Supreme Court to revoke the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN, Malacañang said Thursday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the assurance even as Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, which will expire in March.
“You must remember that the job of the SolGen is to file the appropriate petitions when he sees or feels that there is a transgression of franchises or any law for that matter,” Panelo said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
A media report earlier claimed that the Solicitor General is set to file a petition before the high court to revoke the congressional franchise of ABS-CBN due to supposed “violations” committed by the media company.
The report claimed that the Solicitor General has already finished the draft of the petition and is expected to be filed Thursday. But the petition has yet to be filed before the SC as of posting time
In an interview, Panelo, who is also Duterte’s chief legal counsel, argued the SolGen’s move cannot be considered an issue of press freedom.
“Basta may violation ng batas hindi pwedeng pumasok ang press freedom. Ang press freedom may limitations din ‘yun,” he said.
(As long as there are laws violated, you cannot invoke press freedom. Press freedom itself has its limitations.)
The President previously asked Lopez family, controlling owner of the publicly listed company, to just sell off the media network as he vowed to “see to it” that it will lose its battle for franchise renewal.
Television and radio broadcasters in the country are required to get a franchise from Congress under Republic Act No. 3846.
“If I were you, just sell it. Because it’s only now that the Filipino can retaliate against your abuses. And I will make sure that you will remember this episode of our times forever,” Duteret said.
The President unleashed the attack on the TV network as his friend, Davao City businessman Dennis Uy, is expanding into the media and entertainment business with the founding of Udenna Communications Media and Entertainment Holdings Corp.