President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he would not allow ABS-CBN to secure a new permit from the National Telecommunications Commission until the Lopez family pays all their "taxes."
Duterte mentioned ABS-CBN towards the tailend of his weekly address to the nation on COVID-19. The House of Representatives denied ABS-CBN application for a franchise renewal last year, effectively taking it off free TV. A bill was filed recently in the Senate for a new license for the network.
"Now ito ngayon sa last. Itong nangyari sa itong mga Lopez of Companies. Ang Congress is planning to restore the franchise of the Lopez. Wala akong problema doon kung i-restore ninyo. But if you say that if they can operate kung may -- may ano na sila, no, I will not allow them," he said.
"I will not allow the NTC to grant them the permit to operate. Kung ibigay ninyo ‘yung franchise because it is within your power to do it, go ahead. Alam mo bakit? Unless and until mabayaran ng mga Lopez ang taxes nila, I will not -- I will ignore your franchise and I will not give them the license to operate. Kalokohan ‘yan," he said.
ABS-CBN went off the air in May 2020 following the expiration of its franchise.
In July of the same year, the network lost its franchise bid in Congress, forcing it to lay off many of its workers in the middle of the pandemic.