Marcoleta says ABS-CBN, TV5 deal 'left bad taste in the mouth'; pegs Kapamilya network obligations at P1.6T

The recent deal between ABS-CBN and TV5 "left a bad taste in the mouth", said SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, who still sounded very upset over the supposed misdeeds of the shuttered "Kapamilya" network.

SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Screenshot from Facebook live)

"Last week, the merger between ABS-CBN and TV5 was announced. I think it was met by public skepticism based on the initial requests of TV stations and radio stations, requiring comment from this representation," Marcoleta said in a privilege speech Monday afternoon, Aug. 15.

"To be honest, I think the merger left a bad taste in the mouth. It leaves much to be desired," said the former deputy speaker.

He reminded him colleagues in the plenary that, in 2020, the House of Representatives "was able to establish several violations that justified the denial of that franchise" that was sought then by ABS-CBN.

Referring to the ABS-CBN-TV5 deal, Marcoleta claimed that there is a subsisting memorandum order from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), "that a franchise grantee should not enter into commercial agreements in which the NTC has jurisdiction".

The veteran solon claimed that, aside from having a "list of violations", ABS-CBN has, by his calculations, amassed a whopping P1.6 trillion in obligations. That's around a third of the Philippines' 2022 national budget.

"This representation calculated the administrative penalties that should be paid by ABS-CBN to the government, and my calculation totalled P1.6 trillion. If these can be considered as obligations to the national government then the NTC order, again, should be applied."

Marcoleta continued his tirades against the television and radio giant.

"There were flagrant violations not only the rules and laws, but also the Constitution. I think even the Constitution was desecrated by ABS-CBN by violating the exclusive Filipino ownership and management of mass media by the issuance of what we call the Philippine depositary," he said.

Marcoleta further claimed that the network had illegally terminated a handful of employees. "These cases were won in the Supreme Court, Mr. Speaker."

And then there's ABS-CBN's alleged use of its subsidiary called Big Dipper "to operate like a tax shield in order to evade the payment of taxes, billions of taxes due to the government".

Marcoleta lamented that the government agencies that should have taken action on the House's findings against ABS-CBN "did not even bother the lacked the vigilance".

Earlier, Marcoleta criticized the NTC, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) for supposedly being remiss either in the aftermath of House's investigation on ABS-CBN, or the network's deal with TV5.