Cayetano’s beef with ABS-CBN? Unfair air time during 2016 campaign
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Cayetano clarified Thursday that his personal issue with television network ABS-CBN Corp. was about the alleged unfair air time given to vice presidential candidates during the 2016 election campaign.
“Narinig ninyo na sa Pangulo, ako mismo [may issue]. Apat kaming naimbitahang vice-presidential candidates sa dzMM,” the Taguig-Pateros congressman, who lost to Vice President Leonor Robredo in the 2016 elections, said in an interview at the House of Representatives.
(You’ve heard it from the President, even myself [I have issue]. Four of us vice-presidential candidates were invited to dzMM.)
“‘Yung isa nilabas sa 6:30 news, sa Bandila, sa Umagang kay Ganda and lunchtime. ‘Yung dalawa sa amin dzMM and then Bandila. ‘Yung isa sa amin sa dzMM, hindi lumabas sa iba,” he recounted, without naming the specific candidates given favorable exposure by the network.
(One candidate’s interview was aired on the 6:30 p.m. news, their late-night program Bandila, their morning show Umagang Kay Ganda and lunchtime newscast. Two of us were aired on dzMM and Bandila. The other one was only aired on dzMM.)
Despite this, Cayetano guaranteed that the House under the 18th Congress would hold fair hearings on the franchise bill of ABS-CBN, which would expire on March 30, 2020.
The House leader also said they would demand “categorical answer” from officials of the television and radio network during the hearings, which he said would happen once they passed the proposed 2020 national budget and other revenue bills.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly launched threats against media outfits critical of his administration like the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN, broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, and online news site Rappler. He even threatened to block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, accusing the network of allegedly not providing him the airtime he had paid for.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had clarified that Duterte’s threats to the radio-television giant were mere expressions of displeasure. The Palace mouthpiece claimed the Chief Executive – known for unleashing tirades against critics – was not a vengeful person.
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