Citing the unemployment of his friends, ABS-CBN television anchor Kim Atienza appealed for President Rodrigo Duterte to refrain from further criticizing their company after the latter mentioned it in his last State of the Nation Address.
Atienza on Tuesday reacted to an article reporting on the chief executive’s remarks against the broadcasting giant during his sixth SONA, where he accused the network of “cheating” on taxes and tagging his daughter of being a “drug trafficker.”
“Mr. President, with all due respect, bugbog sarado na po at dapang-dapa na ang kumpanya namin. Jobless na po ang madami kong kaibigan at wala na po kaming audience. Tama na po sana. Salamat po, sir,” the news personality wrote on Twitter.
Mr President, with all due respect, bugbog sarado na po at dapang dapa na ang kumpanya namin. Jobless na po ang madami kong kaibigan at wala na po kaming audience. Tama na po sana. Salamat po sir.https://t.co/gEeNShBEN9
— kim atienza (@kuyakim_atienza) July 27, 2021
ABS-CBN on SONA
Duterte devoted a portion of his national address by claiming that the network owes the government “billions” of tax money and that it is not supposedly paying property tax for a “40-hectare property.”
ABS-CBN denied this in a report and said its compound in Quezon City is only 4.4 hectares.
It added that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has already cleared the network of tax delinquencies, as testified by BIR Assistant Commissioner Manuel Mapoy in the congressional hearings last year.
Mapoy previously said that the broadcaster has been “regularly paying its corporate taxes for the past years” by remitting about P15.3 billion in taxes from 2016 to 2019.
ABS-CBN chief financial officer Ricardo Tan likewise affirmed that the network has paid P164 million of taxes in 2018 and reiterated its regular payment of taxes to the government.
The network in its fact-check report also noted that it has not published reports tagging Duterte’s daughters, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Veronica Duterte, as “drug traffickers.”
It added that it has published the Dutertes’ denials of the accusation and that the president was “likely referring to the ‘Ang Totoong Narcolist’ series of videos uploaded in 2019 by a whistleblower named ‘Bikoy’ and was reported by many media outlets.'”
Meanwhile, renewed calls to bring back ABS-CBN’s broadcasting franchise dominated local Twitter amid Duterte’s SONA last Monday with the hashtag “#IbalikAngABSCBN.”
Some reminded fellow Filipinos of how the president has vocally threatened to shut down the network in the past while others pushed for its return to free TV, especially for its provincial stations.
Since it was denied a franchise renewal by the House of Representatives, the network has retrenched thousands of its workers as its operations scale down.
ABS-CBN in a report said that it had a “total of 11,071 employees, including those classified as independent contractors.”
By the end of 2020, it was down to 5,932 employees, including independent contractors.