MANILA - Malacañang on Tuesday stressed President Rodrigo Duterte values press freedom despite his tirades against several media outfits, including ABS-CBN.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte, having been in politics for a long time, knows that media is “an indispensable institution” in a democracy.
“Ang aking posisyon dyan, same way with how I deal with any media company, we have to work with them,” Roque said in a forum in Quezon City when asked to weigh in on the President’s tirades against ABS-CBN.
“In a democracy, media and the free press are there as indispensable parts,” he added.
Duterte on Friday vowed to “never intervene” in ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal but said he will not hand it to the network if he had his way.
“Now ABS-CBN, ’yang franchise nila is due for renewal. Sige padala emissary para kausapin ako. Pinaalis na nila si Gabby (Lopez) kasi nothing will happen,” Duterte said in a speech during the opening of a drug rehabilitation facility in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
“I will not talk to you, but I will also never intervene. Pero if I had my way I will not give it back to you,” he added.
Duterte has lashed out at ABS-CBN for supposedly not airing a political advertisement which he had already paid for.
But Roque believes Duterte acknowledges that ABS-CBN was once an indispensable part of his career as a politician, as he once had his own television show in the network’s regional channel in Davao, titled “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.”
“Sa ABS-CBN, nagalit lang siya kasi parang nagpa-advertise siya at hindi in-air,” Roque said.
“Nine years siyang nagkaroon ng show sa ABS-CBN Davao and of course that was indispensable in his political career as well.”
News.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.