MANILA — Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman’s claim that there is an “extrajudicial killing” of press freedom under President Rodrigo Duterte’s watch is “nonsense,” Malacañang said on Friday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the executive branch prefers to ignore Lagman’s allegation rather than give the solon a media mileage.
“We will not respond to another nonsense from him. Those issues have been bled dry by rambunctious critics like him, and have been responded to before,” the Palace official said.
“We will not repeat ourselves. We will not accommodate him just to make him earn media mileage,” he added.
Panelo’s statement was in response to Lagman’s recent call on Duterte to bring his personal grievances against local broadcast network ABS-CBN Corporation to the proper judicial or administrative forum, instead of “imposing an extrajudicial killing of the freedom of the press.”
Lagman’s appeal came after Duterte on Monday advised the Lopez family to just put ABS-CBN on sale.
The President’s proposal came, as he renewed his vow that the ABS-CBN, whose franchise will lapse on Mar. 30, 2020, would lose its battle to renew its 25-year legislative franchise.
Television and radio broadcasting firms in the Philippines are mandated to get a franchise, as provided by Republic Act 3846.
A congressional franchise bill must be first approved by the House of Representatives and the Senate before the President can either sign it into law or veto it.
To date, at least nine bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise have been filed at the House of Representatives.
On December 8 last year, Panelo said the renewal of the local media giant’s franchise would still be up to Congress.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar on December 18 said ABS-CBN can still run its other media platforms, in case it fails to secure a fresh 25-year franchise for the operations of its television and radio broadcasting stations.
ABS-CBN is primarily involved in content creation and production for television, online, and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, cable, satellite, cinema, live events, and radio for domestic and international markets, according to its website.
It also operates various platforms, including domestic television, radio networks, worldwide OTT, and online platforms.
ABS-CBN also has interests in Philippine cable, satellite, and broadband systems; music and music publishing; consumer products and licensing; multimedia services; magazine and book publishing; product and post-production services; telecommunication services; money remittance; cargo forwarding; TV shopping services; food and restaurant services; theme park development and management; property management; and cinema management. (PNA)