"The network’s actions are not always “in the service of the Filipino.”"
The online forum of members of the House of Representatives who voted for the denial of the renewal of the 25-year franchise for Lopez-owned ABS-CBN was revealing. It showed the attempts of the network to drum up public support and sympathy for it.
Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla and Anakkalusugan Party List Rep. Mike Defensor all explained why they voted against the network. All those whose hearts are bleeding for ABS-CBN must realize that their favorite network is not immaculate at all. Their actions and dealings are not always “in the service of the Filipino” as they like to say.
Marcoleta pointed out the network’s violation of the terms of its franchise, like the unauthorized digital broadcast using a frequency assigned to Amcara Broadcasting. It was later found to be a dummy of ABS-CBN, Santa Banana!
Marcoleta suggested forcing the network to pay—hold your breath!—P1.97 trillion based on the number of set-up boxes allegedly illegally sold by the network.
The House Deputy Speaker also came out with something not talked about at the network. During the 14-day franchise hearing, when he asked for the title of the network’s property where its offices, tower and studios are located, ABS-CBN executives could only present another lot title, not the original title, which they claimed was up for reconstitution.
Remulla, a representative from Cavite, questioned ABS-CBN’s possession of the smaller JUSMAG compound in front of its complex. This should properly belong to the government.
My gulay, it was Remulla who found out that Amcara Broadcasting with whom the bright boys of ABS-CBN claim to have a blocktime arrangement was found to be a dummy of ABS-CBN. Amcara’s Channel 43 was using the ABS-CBN tower for its signal.
My gulay, that is a criminal act and whoever is responsible for it should be charged and jailed.
Defensor said that former ABS-CBN employees who filed a suit against the network, should be given the chance for a workers’ takeover of the company since they don’t own the transmitter and other facilities. Maybe they can have a lease-to-own arrangement with ABS-CBN.
During that forum, Remulla came out with a suggestion, which I think is feasible. He broached the idea that the radio and television frequencies of the network could be used by the government or bid out so that the government could raise revenues.
Aside from the two options I cited (what the Lopezes could do), the government could indeed use the frequencies for online education. It’s a brilliant idea.
If ABS-CBN executives are still hoping to have a people’s initiative for the renewal of its franchise, then that is next to impossible. The Comelec has no money for that. It is not in the 2020-2021 budget. Besides, the government needs all the money it can get to respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is imperative is to sanction the Lopezes for all the violations of ABS-CBN. These should be made public so that those supporting the network may be enlightened that it does not deserve their support. In fact, I would even say that the network’s executives should be jailed, as well.
With the denial of the franchise, the Lopezes would be far from destitution. They may have lost their media enterprise but they have other companies that remain profitable. These are valued at over P136 billion as of July 17, 2020. They are First Gem Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp., Lopez Holdings Corp. and Rockwell Land Corporation.
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I have been asked many times, what happened such that COVID-19 cases are rising so fast?
With the easing of guidelines and health protocols, people have become more mobile. We see them walking outside or on vehicles. There are also more people going to work, dining out, going to malls, and even going to church. Santa Banana, all these are contributing to the spread of COVID-19!
I think it was premature on the part of President Duterte to ease health protocols. The health and safety of the people must be paramount.
I just hope and pray that we could flatten the curve soon. My wife and I would not want to spend Christmas indoors, Santa Banana!