Is ABS-CBN credible?

"It has a very clear political agenda."


Every morning since the outbreak of COVID-19, I ask myself “what now?” every time I open the newspapers.

My wife and I are not so concerned about ourselves since at our age, we are already at the pre-departure area waiting the last call for our flight to the great beyond. Still, we are worried about our children and grandchildren.

At the rate the virus is spreading in many countries, it is not far off that the World Health Organization will soon declare a pandemic. So far, only Antarctica has not been infected.

What worries me most for us Filipinos is the possibility of transmission at the community level. This is a very real prospect given the large number of informal settlers who lack basic facilities and knowledge of hygiene.

This is why I have been calling on the Duterte administration to have a massive information and education campaign on the virus.

Santa Banana, Filipinos should be thankful that COVID-19 has not yet affected us the way it has other countries. I have been told that San Francisco is set to declare an emergency, having the biggest Chinatown in the United States.

* * *

Apparently there is a lot of confusion in connection with the May 4 expiration of the franchise of the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN radio-television network.

It’s sad to think that most of the confusion has been coming from Congress itself, with some legislators saying that a joint resolution from both Houses is all there is to it in granting ABS-CBN the license to continue operating. Thus, the Senate is moving to file a resolution to give that authority to the NTC.

Coming right down to it, what is needed is not just a resolution or joint resolution but a law. This is according to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

What surprises me is that if both chambers of Congress can pass a resolution, why can’t they enact a law extending the franchise of ABS-CBN?

When ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak admitted the network’s shortcomings in not airing the political advertisements of then-candidate Rodrigo Duterte, it became very clear that the network was taking sides. It was apparent that it was behind the Yellow candidate Mar Roxas, whose wife is a network talent and journalist.

That struck into the credibility of ABS-CBN; it clearly had a political agenda. That’s one reason the grant of a new franchise is in question.

Once a news outlet has a political agenda, its franchise, which is a form of public service, becomes vested.

This is the reason I have not supported ABS-CBN completely as many of my colleagues in media have. When a broadcast network shows some political or vested interest, it’s a clear violation of the law.

* * *

I was amused when I heard that President Duterte was trying very hard to justify his abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. He asked whether Filipino soldiers could do the same as American forces in fighting terrorists and helping the government during and after disasters.

He said Filipino soldiers can do it alone without the Americans. But how can you fight terrorism without American equipment and surveillance devices? What baloney!

What also bothers me is that President Duterte abrogated the VFA because of a flimsy reason—the cancellation of the US visa of his friend, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.

I believe that Duterte could not abrogate the VFA on his own. It is a treaty that was ratified by the Senate. This is why I support the move of Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to contest Duterte’s move.

To me, what the country actually lost is American help in fighting terrorism and dealing with calamities. Besides, the VFA assures us of American aid in the wake of continued bullying by China.

We can’t do it alone. Does Duterte really believe we do not need the Americans?

Nobody could be happier with this development than China.

* * *

A lot of corruption is going on at some of the government-owned-and-controlled corporations. This comes in the form of anomalies committed by Malacañang-appointed directors. These have gone unnoticed by the President.

These abuses involve GOCC directors giving themselves fat allowances and even privileges to own a car at government expense, or to travel abroad frequently. These deeds go unnoticed because Last year, the former government corporate counsel who had overall jurisdiction over these GOCCs discovered this form of corruption, which prompted the Commission on Audit to flag these agencies and some of lawyers. But instead of investigating the anomalies amounting to billions of pesos, some people in Malacañang just told the President to fire the former government counsel for misdemeanor—a baseless charge. Santa Banana, now these corrupt lawyers are lording it over the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel!

Now you know why government corruption does not end.

Speaking of government corruption, sometime ago the COA also red-flagged excessive allowances given to lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor General. What ever happened to that report? I wonder.

Topics: World Health Organization , COVID-19 , Rodrigo Duterte , Visiting Forces Agreement , Reynato Puno
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