President Rodrigo Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address Monday that he was a "casualty" of ABS-CBN during the 2016 elections. He accused the Lopez family that owns the shuttered broadcaster of using its influence against political figures.
ABS-CBN, which had been off the air since May 5 and was denied a fresh 25-year franchise, previously denied allegations of wrondoing, including biased reporting. Earlier this year, it apologized to Duterte for airing a rival's campaign ad and the chief executive accepted.
Duterte also criticized Sen. Franklin Drilon for linking his children to political dynasties when the opposition lawmaker discussed the ABS-CBN shutdown in a media interview. Drilon "arrogantly mentioned that oligarchs need not be rich," Duterte said.
"Obviously, he was defending the Lopezes that they are not oligarchs," Duterte said. Oligarchs "influence public policy to their advantage," the President said.
"Media is a powerful tool in the hands of oligarchs like the Lopezes who use their media outlets in their battles (with) political figures. I am a casualty of the Lopezes during the 2016 elections," he said.