There's only one solution to ABS-CBN's Gordian knot
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 29, 2020 - 12:00am

Legend has it that Gordius, a Greek king, tied a very complex and intricately woven knot so difficult to disentangle an oracle prophesied that whoever could untie the knot would rule the entire Asia, from the Middle East to the Pacific. The problems of ABS-CBN are complicated and many, not unlike the Gordian knot.

First, it can’t operate legally for lack of a franchise. Its use of other platforms may lead to more complications and far-reaching consequences. Facebook and YouTube may complain of burdening its facilities without compensation and may sue for unauthorized use of their medium. The fight in the Lower House has become more problematic. It can take longer than the negotiated term of the speaker which will end by October. The debates will be long and unmanageable. There are 300 or so members of the House. Each one has the right to take the floor and will most likely filibuster for or against. The House leadership isn’t minded to limit the time.

Second, it’s losing millions in ads daily, being unable to collect from global brands and multi-national conglomerates that used to overwhelm “Ang Probinsyano”, “Showtime”, and “TV Patrol” with so many ads infinitum. Their coffers are bleeding and they need infusion urgently. So badly, it’s a matter of life and death. Therefore, it should be the strategic imperative of ABS-CBN that the deliberations in Congress be expedited. But, apparently, to delay is precisely the plot against it. The Speaker has decided to allow each one who wants to appear, every Tomas, Dickoy, and Hilaria as resource persons, to speak for or against the franchise. That’s due process.

Third, whether ABS-CBN wins or loses before the Supreme Court, its defeat or victory won’t assure the outcome from the Lower House. ABS-CBN should realize that what matters most is the franchise, and that any law granting it can only emanate from the House. The Supreme Court, with due respect, can’t order Congress to pass a law. That would violate the fundamental principle of separation of powers. The Senate where ABS-CBN has many admirers and supporters (like senators Poe, Hontiveros, Drilon, Lapid, Revilla, Angara, Gatchalian, and Pacquiao) can’t act on the bill legally until the House is done with it. And the House isn’t in a hurry. That is the Gordian knot I’ve been saying.

Fourth, and this to me, is more important, ABS-CBN has to pay thousands of employees their salaries and benefits. They can’t just retrench as threatened, becauses they always say “Kapamilya is forever” and that “hindi nag lalaglagan". So, what shall ABS-CBN do? Simple. They admitted they wronged Zeus, and they apologized in the Senate. Zeus, for PR purposes said he has already forgiven. But deep in his heart, the hurt is still there. The Lopezes should humble themselves, make amends and personally appear in Mount Olympus. MVP did that. The Villars did that. The Makati big guys did that. Why couldn't the Lopezes just do that? Don Eugenio and Don Fernando Lopez would’ve done that.

It’s one thing to utter a peremptory and hurried apologia before a camera in a Senate hearing and a completely different thing to come and, even with mask and social distancing, look at Zeus directly in the eye and say: We did wrong. We are very sorry. We apologize. Zeus is very easy to talk to. Just have Bong Go or Francis Tolentino with you. Take a cue from Kim Chiu, your own talent: "Dahil lumabas ka sa classroom, manghingi ka ng sorry sa teacher. Ayusin mo." That’s the only solution. When Zeus says yes, his underlings will follow. Lo and behold, your franchise will come before Christmas. Good for us all, we need Cardo Dalisay to slay COVID-19.

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