Malacau00f1ang file photo
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has a proposal for ABS-CBN chairman Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III: If his television network promotes federalism, Duterte is willing to call it quits.
"Kung magtulong kayo diyan sa federal system campaign at gawain ninyong slogan also for the unity and to preserve the republic, makipag-areglo ako," said Duterte on Wednesday night, December 13, during the PDP-Laban Christmas Benefit Dinner.
(If you can help with the federal system campaign and you make a slogan also for unity and to preserve the republic, I'll make amends with you.)
He said this right after repeating his usual rant against Lopez and the "debt" that the ABS-CBN chairman's family owes the government.
"Just dedicate a portion of your time, your expensive and precious time on TV, help us promote federalism...I'm willing to shake hands with you," said Duterte.
About the Lopezes' "debt," the President stressed he hasn't forgotten about them but he'd be willing to discuss the issue with them.
"But you've done a wrong. You still owe the government. Do your part, maybe we can talk about it," said Duterte.
He gave assurances that he isn't asking for ABS-CBN to stop reporting on corruption or wrongdoing in government.
"You can continue with your criticism about corruption. We both don't like corruption and wrongdoing," said Duterte.
Towards the end of his speech, he seemed to say he was offering his proposal to other networks he has a beef with.
"If you support this, you networks, I won't ask for anything else, that's it," said Duterte.
The previous night, the President had noted that Filipinos appear not to be ready for a shift to a federal form of government, a longtime advocacy of his and among his major campaign promises.
He has long issued threats against the Lopezes and ABS-CBN, starting with his vow to block the TV network's franchise renewal.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.