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Palace denies Duterte behind petition to revoke ABS-CBN franchise

President Rodrigo Duterte had no involvement in the government’s petition asking the Supreme Court to forfeit the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp. and one of its subsidiaries, Malacañang said Monday.

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President had “nothing to do” with the legal action taken by the Office of the Solicitor General even though the Chief Executive had repeatedly threatened not to renew the company's license to operate.

“The SolGen is constitutionally bound to institute any action against any transgressors of law and if a franchise holder is violating its franchise, then it is his [SolGen] duty to file a quo warranto,” Panelo told reporters.

“Wala siyang [Duterte] pakialam doon.”

He also said Duterte did not interfere with the work of Congress where bills seeking to extend ABS-CBN franchise were refiled last year. The franchise will expire on March 30.

In its quo warranto petition, the OSG alleged that ABS-CBN had been broadcasting for a fee and operating a "pay-per-view channel in ABS-CBN TV Plus, the KBO Channel, without prior approval or permit from the National Telecommunications Commission."

It also said that ABS-CBN had issued Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreigners — a similar allegation made against online news site Rappler, which the government is prosecuting on other charges.

The OSG further alleged that subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. resorted to an "ingenious corporate layering scheme" to transfer its franchise "without the necessary Congressional approval."

ABS-CBN slammed the petition as “ill-timed” and described it as an effort to shut down the network which earned the President’s ire for allegedly not airing a political ad that was already paid for by his campaign team in 2016.

The network said it did not violate the law. — DVM, GMA News