Marcoleta wants House probe into ABS-CBN land title after floating idea of seizing property

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Marcoleta wants House probe into ABS-CBN land title after floating idea of seizing property
This undated photo shows Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, representative of Sagip party-list.
Facebook / SAGIP Partylist

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list), among the chief accusers of ABS-CBN Corp. in franchise hearings this month, is not done going after the embattled broadcast giant. 

The party-list congressman has filed a House resolution questioning  the company's ownership of its property along Mother Ignacia Avenue in Quezon City.

According to a copy of House Resolution No. 1058 acquired by ABS-CBN News, Rodante wants a probe into the authenticity of the company's land title because it only presented a duplicate title for a 42-sq.m. lot at the hearings. 

The ABS-CBN compound measures around 44,000 sq.m.

Marcoleta said that the government has the right to file an action for the nullification of the company's land title "if upon a final finding [it] is indeed of dubious origin." 

"It may also be inquired that if ABS-CBN's title was indeed for 'provisional reconstitution,' it should explain why said administrative remedy was not even annotated in said owner's duplicate title," he said. 

At an informal online meeting that went viral on social media earlier, Marcoleta along with Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Remulla (Cavite) and Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) continued to hurl allegations against the Quezon City-headquartered network and talked about imposing a P1.97-trillion fine on the network and seizing its headquarters.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, in response to the congressmen's ideas, tweeted: "Takeover ABS CBN property? Private property is constitutionally protected. Possession is given weight. There is a venue, the courts; and there is due process."

READ: Insisting on ABS-CBN's debunked 'violations' is disinformation from Congress — nat'l network | Most Filipinos support ABS-CBN franchise, many see rejection as blow to press freedom — survey

Despite government agencies addressing Marcoleta's accusations at the hearings for the franchise application, he asserted it would be the will of the administration-dominated Congress that would prevail.

The will of the Duterte allies indeed won the day as the House Committee on Legislative Franchises voted to kill the company's franchise bid, a decision that has affected and will affect the livelihoods of thousands.

Duterte has said he was neutral over the issue with the company, which he once vowed would not get a new franchise under his watch. 

However, an audio track of the President’s speech in Sulu last July 13 was leaked by reporters and audibly caught Duterte once more accusing ABS-CBN of defiling him, taking advantage of its political power, and of playing “God” over the lives of Filipinos.

Within the first few minutes of his penultimate State of the Nation Address, Duterte mentioned that he was a casualty of the Lopez family during the 2016 elections.

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