“Some talk of unfair labor practice. ABS-CBN said there’s none. Some say it meddled in the election. ABS-CBN said it did not. So, you know, as leaders, we have to make decisions that seem controversial, but it’s there to put some order in everything,” he explained partly in Filipino.
Boy Santos
Complaints against ABS-CBN delaying franchise renewal — Speaker
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Complaints about unfair labor practices and not just partisan reporting have contributed to the delay in the House of Representatives’ deliberations on the renewal of TV giant ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said yesterday.  

“Some talk of unfair labor practice. ABS-CBN said there’s none. Some say it meddled in the election. ABS-CBN said it did not. So, you know, as leaders, we have to make decisions that seem controversial, but it’s there to put some order in everything,” he explained partly in Filipino.

Cayetano said these are among the issues that have contributed to the delay in the House committee on legislative franchises’ hearings, which were also superseded by the Taal Volcano eruption and the new coronavirus scare, among others.  

“Look at Channel 5 and Channel 7. Why were their franchises given immediately? It’s because no one accused their management of meddling in the election. But for ABS-CBN, it’s a perennial complaint,” he pointed out.

He believes that the Lopez-owned network, having been in existence for 65 years, “knows how to resist politicians taking advantage of situations” like putting pressure on the broadcast station to get favors.  

At a separate event in the Southern Police district, Cayetano said that while the franchise renewal is essential to democracy, corporate responsibility takes on more importance.

“If there is no press freedom, there is no democracy. But if a media outlet that is very powerful dictated the outcome of elections, you do not have democracy as well,” he said.

He stood pat on his statement that the hearings of the House committee on legislative franchises under Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez will either start in May or by August “objectively” because there will be more time for exhaustive hearings. 

He said he didn’t want to take up the issue at this point because it will just be left hanging. 

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman criticized Cayetano for saying the House hearings on the ABS-CBN issue will definitely go beyond the 2022 presidential elections.

“The cat is now out of the bag,” he said. “The intention is to transform ABS-CBN into a docile hostage while waiting for the renewal of its franchise. It is clear that the House leadership would stonewall its action on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise so that ABS-CBN will ‘be neutral and never take political sides’,” Lagman said in a statement. – With Ralph Edwin Villanueva??

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