Multiple House probes on ABS-CBN called an overkill

Published July 30, 2020, 12:49 PM

by Noreen Jazul

ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro described on Thursday as an overkill the filing of three House separate resolutions that seek to investigate three alleged violations committed by the shuttered television and radio giant ABS-CBN.


“Personalan na ito talaga at overkill na ang ginawa sa ABS-CBN. Lugmok na nga eh, talagang tinanggalan na nga ng prangkisa, lugmok na lugmok na. Tapos ganito pa (What they’re doing against ABS-CBN is overkill, they’re making it personal. The network is down, it has been stripped of its franchise, it’s really down. And now this),” Castro said during a virtual press conference of the Makabayan bloc.

“Open naman ang Makabayan bloc na tignan ang mga resolution na ito. Gusto ko lang sabihin din na overkill na ang ginagawa ninyo sa ABS-CBN (The Makabayan bloc is open to looking into these resolutions. I just want to say that what you’re doing to ABS-CBN is overkill), she said.

The Lopez-owned network went off the air last May 5 when the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) handed down a cease and desist order. ABS-CBN’s previous 25-year operating franchise expired a day before the NTC order.

The House Committees on Legislative Franchises and on Good Government and Public Accountability  carried out 12 marathon hearings discussing the dozen or so House bills calling for the grant of a new 25-year franchise to ABS-CBN, in the backdrop of alleged wrongdoings of its owner, Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, as well as the network’s violations to its previous franchise.

Earlier this month, the Legislative Franchises panel approved a recommendation to junk ABS-CBN’s franchise application, resulting in the loss of jobs of 11,000 employees.

“So titignan naman natin, kasi lahat naman in aid of legislation eh. Tignan natin kung mayroong justification ‘yung mga sinasabi nila at anong batas ‘yung gusto nilang isulong sa pag-iimbestiga ng property, nung utang, at tsaka noong Amcara (So we will look at these, since they are all in aid of legislation. Let’s see what their justifications are as well as the laws that they are pursuing in the proposed investigation on ABS-CBN’s property, loan, and on Amcara),” Castro said.

House Deputy Majority Leader and Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla filed HR No.1015, which seeks to probe the block time agreement between ABS-CBN and Amcara Broadcasting Network Inc. Amcara supposedly facilitated the digital broadcast of ABS-CBN’s program even after their old franchise lapsed.

House Deputy Speaker and SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta filed HR No. 1058 inquiring on the authenticity of the land title of ABS-CBN’s property on Mother Ignacia Ave., Quezon City.

HR No. 1040 seeks to investigate the loan condonation amounting to P1.6 billion given by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to companies controlled or affiliated with the Lopez family.

The resolution was authored by Remulla, Marcoleta, presidential son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, DUMPER PTDA party list Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista, ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, and Cavite  Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr.

During the franchise hearings, the authors learned that Benpres Holdings Corp., now called Lopez Holdings Corp., benefited from a large write-off from the DBP along with other companies controlled by or affiliated with the Lopezes.