By Ben Rosario
Buy or sell.
These are the two options ABS-CBN can choose from if its owners, the Lopez family, still want to continue as owners of the broadcast giant without getting Congress’ nod and President Duterte’s approval.
The Kapamilya network can take Duterte’s advice and sell Kapamilya network but maintain minority ownership.
The Lopezes can also stick to plans to buy airtime from other media conglomerate and wait for 2022, when Duterte relinquishes power as president.
Infrawatch PH lead convenor Terry Ridon aired the second option as a good choice.
Ridon, who served as Kabataan party-list representative, said buying block airtime emerged as an option since tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan made remarks that the Metro Pacific-controlled TV 5 can offer such deal with its network rival, ABS-CBN.
Ridon, who was a one-time member of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said TV 5 could offer to the Lopez group time slots that it does not need.
He explained that selling the franchise, as proposed by Duterte, will also need congressional approval that may or may not be given.
Earlier, Pangilinan revealed he was open to negotiations with the Kapamilya Network for a block time agreement.
“Setting aside politics, if they want to block time, we are prepared to talk,” said Pangilinan.
Hopes for ABS-CBN to convince Congress to grant a 25 year extension of its legislative franchise have been skewed after President Duterte announced on December 30 that the owners of the network should start considering to sell its huge asset.
Duterte’s statement came as senior members of the House of Representatives declared their support for the approval of bills allowing ABS-CBN to operate for another 25 years after its current legislative franchise expires on March 20.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano had also declared that the House Committee on Legislative Franchises chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez may now start conducting congressional hearings for the nine bills proposing approval of the franchise extension.
The president has been forthright about his opposition to the pending bills as he accused the network of being biased against him during the campaign period for the 2016 presidential campaign that he won.
Duterte also chided the Kapamilya network for dishonesty when it allegedly accepted payment for advertising spots for his campaign without airing them.
ABS-CBN denied the accusation.