Senator Leila De Lima opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to block the restoration of the ABS-CBN network on the air even if it still obtains a legislative franchise.
Duterte insisted that the Lopez family should pay their tax obligations first.
However, the Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIR) itself then said that the network has already processed their pending tax case.
“The BIR has already cleared ABS-CBN of its tax liabilities. So, anong sinasabi ni Duterte na kailangan nilang bayaran?” said Sen. Leila de Lima on Tuesday morning.
“Totoong tax o padulas sa trapo?”
There are currently several bills in the House and Senate to grant the legislative franchise to the giant network after it expired in May 2020.
Some of those who are pushing for their return are legislators who used to be part of the showbiz industry, just like Reps. Vilma Santos (Batangas) and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
De Lima tells Duterte ABS-CBN has no tax liabilities
This is not the first time that the president has said that he will block the operation of ABS-CBN, just like his statement in August 2018 because the network did not air some of his political ads in 2016.
“Congress is planning to restore the franchise. Wala akong problem kung i-restore ninyo but I will not allow them to operate. I will not allow the NTC to grant them the permit to operate,” Duterte said.
“Unless and until mabayaran ng mga Lopez ang taxes nila, I will ignore your frnachise and I will not give them the license to operate,” he added.
However, Lopez Holdings Corp. clarified that the family had no outstanding loans with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).
“Lopez Holdings Corp. does not have any unpaid obligations to the Development Bank of the Philippines or other government financial institutions,” it said in a statement in 2017.
The President at that time hit the company formerly known as Benpres over its alleged outstanding debt with DBP.