Defensor says House brass giving ABS supporters false hopes

Published January 25, 2021, 3:23 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Anakalugusan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said the House leadership under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco might end up giving false hopes to supporters of shuttered television and radio giant ABS-CBN.


“May possibility na mapaasa lang sa wala ‘yung mga network employees and supporters (There’s a possibility that the network employees and supporters are being given false hopes),” Defensor said.

Referring to Velasco, Defensor said: “He has to be forthright with them (network supporters) and not play politics.”

Defensor last Jan. 14 dared the current House leadership to bare its real plans for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

“Siguro kailangang ilinaw na nila yan kasi labas nang labas sa social media, ipapasa daw nila, ayusin nila. Eh kawawa naman pati ‘yung ABS-CBN supporters, and I’m just being fair to them, huwag naman nilang lokohin (I think it’s time for them to clarify that because according to social media posts, they will pass the franchise application. I pity the ABS-CBN supporters, and I’m just being fair to them, I hope they won’t get duped),” Defensor said back then.

Defensor is one of the more loyal supporters of Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, whom Marinduque Rep. Velasco replaced as Speaker last October.

Defensor has since lost his committee chairmanship and vice chairmanships under Velasco.

The party-list congressman further claimed Monday that “Velasco and his leadership core are giving mix signals vis-a-vis the Presidents’ pronouncements.” He did not elaborate.

Last July 10, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez voted 70-11-1 (yes-no-abstain) to reject ABS-CBN’s franchise application, which several House members had filed in behalf of the network.

The panel hearings were held under Cayetano’s watch, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Defensor was vocal in his opposition to granting the Lopez-owned network a new operating franchise.

ABS-CBN, which had employed 11,000 people, voluntarily went off the air last May 5 or a day after its erstwhile 25-year operating franchise expired. It has since let some of its workers go.

It remains to be seen if the House panel will hear applications for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise under Velasco.