MANILA, Mar 2 (Mabuhay) — Vice presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Tuesday said it is up to Congress to decide on the granting of franchises, including to ABS-CBN’s.

“As vice president, wala po ang power diyan [sa] granting franchises (A vice president doesn’t have power over franchises),” Duterte said in an ambush interview in Pasay City when asked if she would support any move to restore ABS-CBN’s franchise if she wins in the upcoming elections.

“So nasa Congress po ‘yan, nasa House of Representatives and the Senate (It’s with Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate),” she added.

Duterte said she would just follow Congress’ decision on the matter.

ABS-CBN went off the air in May 2020 in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s order for it to cease operations after its legislative franchise expired.

Before that, Duterte’s father, President Rodrigo Duterte, had threatened to block the franchise of ABS-CBN as he called out the network for not airing his paid political advertisements during the 2016 election campaign .

Malacañang insisted that Duterte did not influence lawmakers from the House of Representatives in voting against the franchise renewal.

ABS-CBN had apologized to Duterte over the unaired advertisement, and the President had accepted the apology.

Lawmakers had cited ABS-CBN’s alleged violations, including supposed tax avoidance schemes, in voting against its franchise renewal

ABS-CBN Group chief financial officer Ricardo Tan in 2020 maintained that ABS-CBN paid all its taxes annually, and complied with all the rules and regulations involving tax payments. (MNS)

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