It is no secret the President Rodrigo Duterte has a beef against ABS-CBN after the network giant failed to air his paid ad during the May 2016 elections but aired an ad that portrayed him negatively. But the network giant might have seen its match as the president appears to actively make sure their franchise will not be renewed when it expires next year.
All radio and television broadcasters in the Philippines are required to obtain a franchise from Congress, as stated on Republic Act No. 3846. The law also sets the allotted period that the franchise is valid. They have to secure a renewal before they are allowed to operate again.
In the case of ABS-CBN, the network giant’s 25-year franchise expires on March 30, 2020. Their chances of getting the franchise renewed are slim, particularly because Duterte now appears to be actively blocking the renewal. With both the Senate and the House of Representatives dominated by his allies, it’s easy to see that ABS-CBN would certainly have a difficult time convincing these lawmakers to approve the franchise renewal.
“Your franchise will end next year. If you are expecting that it will be renewed, I’m sorry. You’re out. I will see to it that you’re out,” Duterte announced during a speech in front of new government officials at Malacañang.
This is not the first time that he aired his grievance at ABS-CBN.
Everyone knew that he is angry at the network for nor airing his paid ads as well as those of other presidential candidates yet approved and aired the ad by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of his staunchest critics. The ad shows children reacting negatively to Duterte’s videos. Duterte fired back that the use of children in the ad is a clear violation of the election law.
When he signed GMA-7’s franchise renewal, he announced that he won’t do the same thing for its main rival, ABS-CBN. He repeated this several times, with people believing he is serious and won’t be swayed in this issue.
It didn’t help the network giant that House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate, also feels the same thing about the ABS-CBN. Though he promised that the House of Representatives would give ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal “due process”, he also admitted that he has personal objections to the network’s franchise renewal.
“On one hand I feel that we have to protect the freedom of the press and freedom of expression; on the other hand, I feel that there’s certain instances in history, and in the 2016 election, that some sectors or leaders of ABS interfered unjustly,” Cayetano said.
As the date draws near, a lot of netizens are clearly waiting what would happen next…