The Philippine government’s chief lawyer has asked the top court to forfeit the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp., the nation’s biggest broadcaster which has drawn President Rodrigo Duterte’s ire.
ABS-CBN’s permit should be revoked for violating the constitutional ban on foreign ownership in media by issuing deposit receipts to foreigners, Solicitor General Jose Calida said in a statement after filing a petition before the Supreme Court Monday. The petition was filed weeks before ABS-CBN’s congressional franchise expires on March 30.
“We want to put an end to what we discovered to be highly abusive practices of ABS-CBN benefiting a greedy few,” Calida said. A company spokesman said he will notify as soon a statement becomes available.
The state lawyer also said that ABS-CBN went beyond the scope of its franchise when it launched a pay-per-view channel.
Duterte has been criticizing ABS-CBN since 2017, accusing the network of bias and supposedly not airing his advertisements when he was campaigning as president. The president also told owners of the media company in December to sell as its franchise renewal remains uncertain.
ABS-CBN shares fell as much as 2.9 percent before paring losses to 1.8 percent at 10:49 a.m. in Manila. The Philippines’ benchmark stock index was down 0.4 percent.