The media company ABS-CBN, known for its unparalleled coverage of the Duterte administration, was ordered to shut down by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) after the broadcast license, granted by the Philippine Congress, expired on Tuesday.
According to CNN Philippines, the decision not to renew ABS-CBN's license marks the first time the broadcaster has been forced out of the air since September 1972, when then-President Ferdinand Marcos placed the country under martial law.
"As the Philippines is helping from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, ABS-CBN's critical eye is now needed even more than ever to help inform the public," the statement said, adding the decision to "is clearly a case of political harassment."
“If you expect [a renewal], Sorry. You're out. I'll make sure you're out, "Duterte said at the time.
But in an interview with the Philippine television network ABS News Channel (ANC), Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque belittled the role of the president's office in the media company's problems.
"He is really neutral and [wants] to let all his allies know that he will not hold it against them. It will not love him in any way. They can vote as they please, he said Tuesday.
"What Duterte wants, Duterte gets … And it is clear, with this bold move to shut down ABS-CBN, that he intends to silence the critical media and scare everyone else into submission," states that in the statement.
Several attempts by the company and lawmakers to receive provisional broadcasting authority were unsuccessful, according to a statement from the company, which prompted NTC to issue a cease and desist letter to ABS-CBN.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told the PNA cessation and resignation were "irregular and undue" during the coronavirus pandemic. "I'm really sorry about the move by NTC. We can mention many cases when NTC provided preliminary authority for those still applying for franchise service," he said.
The cease and desist order covers all of the network's 42 TV stations, 10 digital broadcast channels and 23 radio stations, according to PNA.
ABS-CBN is not the first news organization to experience problems operating in the Philippines during the Duterte administration.
On Tuesday, ABS-CBN said that they had been assured that there was no movement in the work to permanently close the net, and they intended to continue to offer a service to the Philippines as soon as they could.
"We trust that the government will decide on our franchise with the best of the Philippines in mind and recognize the role and efforts of ABS-CBN to provide the latest news and information during these challenging times," the company said in the statement.
In a speech with the PNA, several senators said they did not see renewal as a problem in the future, but did not provide a timeline for when it could take place.