VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Mindanao newspaper’s claim on Marcos Jr. favoring franchise renewal of ABS-CBN needs context

Needs context

The Facebook (FB) page of Mindanao Daily News, a newspaper based in Cagayan de Oro City, claimed that presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “thumb[ed] up” the franchise renewal of media company ABS-CBN.

This claim needs context. Marcos said he does not see why ABS-CBN should not get its franchise back once it has resolved its alleged violations.


FB page Mindanao Daily News, the online version of a community newspaper, claimed in its post:

“JUST IN! President Bongbong Marcos thumbs up for franchise renewal of ABS-CBN! Must fix issues.”


Source: Mindanao Daily News official Facebook page, JUST IN! President Bongbong Marcos thumbs up for franchise renewal (archived), May 10, 2022

FB page Unofficial: Vice Ganda created a similar post hours later.

Both the Mindanao Daily News and the Unofficial: Vice Ganda pages carried quotes from an ABS-CBN News article, which read in part:

“‘ABS-CBN has been a very fervid critic of me, my family, all lahat sa mga panig ng mga Marcos (everyone in favor of the Marcoses),’ he said.


So pero hindi yan ang pinag-uusapan.. Ang pinag-uusapan ay yun ngang mga violation na nakita. Kapag naayos yan, bakit naman hindi maibalik ang prangkisa?’”


(So that’s not what’s we are being talkeding about. What’s we’re been talkeding about are the violations that were found. Once those are settled, why can’t the franchise be given back?)


Source: ABS-CBN News, Bongbong says ABS-CBN franchise still up to Congress, must ‘fix issues’, Jan. 26, 2022

Both FB posts garnered a total of over 71,000 reactions, 13,800 comments, and 42,900 shares as of May 18. These appeared on May 10 hours after the unofficial vote count showed Marcos getting 30,969,399 votes compared to Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo’s 14,760,810 votes as of 2:47 p.m of May 9, with 97.77% of election returns tallied.


Marcos did not say that he favors granting a franchise to ABS-CBN. But he did say that the media network should first resolve the issues raised against it before reapplying for a franchise at the House of Representatives’ committee on legislative franchises.

Kapag naayos nila yan at na-areglo nila, ang mga nakita nung doon sa hearing ng ABS, eh kung maayos nila yan, eh di ibalik natin yung application nila sa Committee on Franchises dun sa House of Representatives. Pag-aralan ulit nila.”

(Once [ABS-CBN] has settled this, [the issues] raised during the hearing on the ABS [franchise], if they can resolve that, then let us bring its application back to the Committee on [Legislative] Franchises in the House of Representatives. Let them study it again.)

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said it granted the frequencies previously assigned to ABS-CBN Corp. to Advanced Media Broadcasting System, Inc, a company owned by former senator and businessman Manny Villar, according to several news reports.

In the ABS-CBN news article cited by Mindanao Daily News and Unofficial: Vice Ganda,  Marcos claimed that the media network has, in various instances, violated tax codes.

“Yung franchise ng ABS, nakita ko… ang naging proseso dun sa House of Representatives, ang naging problema kung bakit hindi tinuloy ang extension ng prangkisa ay dahil may mga nakitang problema — violation sa tax codes sa iba’t ibang bagay,” Marcos said.

(In the ABS-CBN franchise [hearings], I saw… the process at the House of Representatives, the problem why the franchise extension was denied was because there were problems found – violation of tax codes on various occasions.)

Officials from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority have testified in congressional hearings that ABS-CBN has been paying its taxes correctly. (Read: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcoleta wrongly claims ABS-CBN ‘hid’ tax payments through subsidiary company Big Dipper)


Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct an inaccurate date.

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ABS-CBN News, Bongbong says ABS-CBN franchise still up to Congress, must ‘fix issues’, Jan. 26, 2022

ABS-CBN Halalan 2022 website, National Elections (archived), May 10, 2022

BusinessWorld, NTC says it granted ABS-CBN frequencies to Villar-linked media company, Jan. 26, 2022

ABS-CBN News, Villar company bags 2 broadcast channels previously held by ABS-CBN, Jan. 25, 2022

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Billionaire Manny Villar to become next media tycoon after taking over ABS-CBN frequencies, Jan. 25, 2022

VERA Files, VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcoleta wrongly claims ABS-CBN ‘hid’ tax payments through subsidiary company Big Dipper, Feb. 10, 2022


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)