Amcara signal comes from ABS-CBN tower, NTC tells House

Published July 2, 2020, 8:38 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

The vice chairmen of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability on Thursday called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the findings of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) that the digital signal of Amcara Broadcasting Network actually originates from ABS-CBN’s tower.


Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla made this manifestation during Thursday’s hearing on ABS-CBN’s pending franchise application before the joint panel of the Good Government Committee and Legislative Franchises Committee.

“Ang lumalabas kasi dito, yung fraud (There appears to be fraud). [There is an] element of fraud against the legislative power of Congress,” Remulla said.

A few minutes earlier, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba shared to the joint panel the findings of its engineers who concluded that the signal source of Amcara or Channel 43 emanated from the compound of ABS-CBN.

ABS-CBN currently has no authority to operate after its previous 25-year franchise expired last May 4.

“Ito po ay pagmamalinis ng isang negosyo na marami hong sinabi tungkol sa Kongreso. Ngayon gusto ko pong malaman kung sila po ay forthcoming sa kanilang sinasabi sa committee na ito (This company that has feigned innocence has said a lot about Congress. Now I want to know if they are forthcoming with what they’ve been telling this committee),” Remulla said.

“Para po madali tayo dito… ipadala po natin ang NBI. Tawagan po natin ang NBI, tulungan tayong mag-imbestiga tungkol po sa veracity ng report ng NTC (The hasten the process… let’s send in the NBI. Let’s call them so they may help us investigate the veracity of NTC’s report),” he added.

Anakalugusan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor seconded Remulla’s call, while at the same time warned Amcara officials about the weight of the potential wrongdoing.

“So I join the honorable Remulla… ito po talaga, wala tayong ginigipit, batas ang sinusunod natin. Sila ang hindi sumusunod sa pagpapatupad ng batas (we’re not harassing anybody, we’re just following the law. They’re the ones who aren’t following the law),” Defensor said.

Only analog-capable

It was recalled that the NTC issued an alias cease and desist order (CDO) against Amcara last June 30 after congressmen complained in a hearing the previous day over how ABS-CBN has continued to air its programs in a digital format, as opposed to the analog signal on Channel 2.

Realizing ABS-CBN’s digital programming set-up, Cordoba said they found it strange that Amcara was the one carrying the service since they only had analog equipment as per their records.

“Napaisip po kami kasi wala silang gamit for digital, yung luma pa po…analog po ito. Nagtataka po kami paano nakaka-ere kung wala silang equipment at wala silang permit (We were puzzled because they don’t have digital equipment, only the old one… analog. We found it strange how they’ve been able to air programs without the equipment and service),” the NTC chief said.

This prompted the search for the transmitter of Amcara, which had been designated the frequency 647.143 megahertz (MHz).

“Based on the results of the radio monitoring equipment, we observed that there is an existing broadcast propagation, 6 MHz band. And the result of the measurement shows that a strong signal is emanating from the direction of ABS-CBN’s tower along Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City,” Cordoba said.

Asked by Remulla if the findings meant that Amcara’s signal originated from ABS-CBN’s compound, Cordoba replied, “Sa tower po nila doon (From their tower there in the compound).”

ABS-CBN officials have said that they were able to air programs over Amcara via block time agreement. However, Cordoba have told solons that Amcara is a sister company of ABS-CBN.

Remulla established in his interpellation of Cordoba that in order to accommodate a block time agreement, Amcara should have its own equipment.

“Itong Amcara ay isang moro-moro po (Amcara is a farce)…The dummy relationship between Amcara and ABS-CBN exists,” reckoned the Cavite lawmaker.

Asked by Remulla if they have invested on digital equipment, Rodrigo Carandang of Amcara said, “Hindi pa po kami bumibili ng transmitter para sa digital TV, yan po ang totoo (We have yet to purchase a transmitter for digital TV, and that’s the truth).”

“Ang totoo po niyan, noong na-assign ang frequency ng Amcara na Channel 43 sa ABS-CBN noong magsimula silang mag-test broadcast, bumili na ho ang ABS-CBN ng transmitter para sa test broadcast. Kaya hindi po kami bumili. Before 2019 po ito (The truth is, when Amcara’s frequency of Channel 43 was assigned to ABS-CBN, they already bought transmitters for their test broadcast. That’s why we didn’t purchase one, ourselves. This was before 2019).