The House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises will hold a briefing today on the reported agreement between media giants ABS-CBN Corp. and TV5 Network Inc.
The committee, chaired by Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting, will hold the public hearing at 2 p.m., a few days after SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta delivered a privilege speech questioning the deal as illegal.
Marcoleta earlier said the deal between the two broadcasting networks violates laws and the 1987 Constitution. He said TV5 violated Section 10 of its broadcasting franchise by entering an agreement with ABS-CBN, which bought common shares in TV5 worth P2.16 billion.
MediaQuest Holdings, the media arm of the MVP Group, still has the controlling stake in TV5 at 64.79%.
But Senator Raffy Tulfo—a former TV and radio talent for TV5—said the viewing public will benefit ABS-CBN and TV5 team up to deliver quality content following their landmark partnership deal signed last week.
By joining forces, the Lopez-led ABS-CBN and Manny Pangilinan-led TV5 are set to offer high-quality entertainment and news programs, Tulfo said on ANC’s “Headstart.”
“The best of two worlds joining together and the end result, a dream team. Who will benefit from this? The viewing public,” he said.
Tulfo said he has so far not seen any violations in the partnership deal.
“If there is a violation, then it’s a different story, it’s a different ballgame. But if we don’t see anything wrong and the merger is okay, so let it be,” he said. “I, for one, will support that and I’m talking based on me being a former broadcaster who knows how the media runs.”
But Marcoleta, who withdrew from the Senate race in the May 9 elections, said at the House: “This particular deal must be looked into, Mr. Speaker, and I think, because of this deal, we have yet to have let the proverbial cat out of the bag.”
“Why? MediaQuest, the parent company of TV5, is owned by PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund. And the grapevine is so loud that PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund is owned by an Indonesian national,” the party-list solon said.
“So, if we will reminisce, that the PDRs were utilized indirectly as conduits for foreigners to own mass media in this country by desecrating and circumventing the very Constitution that we have, maybe what will happen will be the same. We will wake up and we will have to see deja vu once again,” he added.
Marcoleta was among the legislators who opposed providing a franchise to ABS-CBN in 2020 during the 18th Congress, as the network ran afoul of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte alleged ABS-CBN never ran his campaign videos on its channels during the 2016 elections despite taking payments for them.
During the 17th Congress, Marcoleta was one of 70 congressmen who voted “yes” to reject the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise, which eventually rendered around 11,000 employees jobless during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte then admitted in June that he used “presidential powers” against ABS-CBN and reiterated that the company “never paid taxes”—a claim debunked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
In the current 19th Congress, Marcoleta filed a resolution calling for an investigation into ABS-CBN’s possible violations of its franchise and requesting Congress to determine the administrative fines that must be imposed.
Marcoleta said ABS-CBN should be fined over P1 trillion for its supposed violations. With Macon Ramos-Araneta