The administration of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the Supreme Court to shut down the country’s largest television network, ABS-CBN, in a move described as a “sign of dictatorship”.

In a legal filing before the highest court on Monday, Duterte’s top lawyer, Solicitor General Jose Calida, said ABS-CBN television network committed “highly abusive practices” in its operation, and its franchise should be revoked.

Calida also alleged that ABS-CBN is “hiding behind an elaborately crafted corporate veil”, allowing foreign entities to invest in the company, “in gross violation of the foreign interest restriction” spelled out in the constitution. 

Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has expressed his disdain towards the television network, which is owned by one of the richest families in the Philippines.

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