Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon responded to President Rodrigo Duterte’s accusations against him during the latter’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).
On Monday, Drilon said that he’s not defending the owners of television network giant ABS-CBN and only trying to protect freedom of speech.
“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of the ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect,” said Drilon.
“As I said before, for democracy to thrive we need free press and to allow journalists to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear,” he added.
Drilon pointed out the importance of ABS-CBN in the midst of the pandemic.
“In the face of a pandemic, we need more access to information. I aired my support for the renewal of franchise ob ABS-CBN because undeniably the network complements other stations in providing timely and accurate reportage even in the farthest locality unreachable to others, even to the government,” he said.
The senator also said that he’s defending the 11,000 employees that would be affected by the shutdown of ABS-CBN.
“I was defending the 11,000 people and their families who would lose jobs amid the pandemic, not the Lopezes,” he said.
Duterte, mentioned Drilon several times during his SONA, saying that the latter was a defender of the Lopezes.
“In an interview, [Drilon] arrogantly mentioned that oligarchs need not be rich then he linked the Anti-dynasty system with oligarchy and the topic was my daughter and son,” the President said.
“This happened after the committee of franchises voted 70-11 to deny the grant of franchise to ABS-CBN…Obviously [Drilon] was defending the Lopezes that they were not oligarchs.” he added.