Duterte: Lopez family should pay tax obligations before ABS-CBN can operate again

President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night that he would prohibit the National Telecommunications Commission to give a license to operate even if Congress gives the network a new franchise.

Duterte insisted that the Lopez family should pay their tax obligations first.

“Congress is 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.

Duterte: Lopez family should pay tax obligations before can operate again

“I will not name the person, but ‘yung mga company nila noon — Benpres and about six other companies — may utang sila sa DBP. At ang utang nila, umabot ng… to finance this… pera ng tao, gagamitin nila to finance their business pero kanila ‘yung kita,” Duterte said then.

In July 2020, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said it was the owners of ABS-CBN, and not the government shut the down.

“It wasn’t the government who shut down, rather it was their owners’ playing fast and loose with our laws in the past decades, that made the shutdown inevitable,” Cayetano said in a statement.

“As to the , like the owners of ABSCBN, whose historical institutional DNA is programmed to protect and grow their fortunes by controlling and abusing the system, they also deprive the country of billions in much needed funds by skirting and bending the law. Many times in connivance with the political elite,” he said.