Solon admits ‘personal reason’ in seeking probe into alleged ABS-CBN franchise violations
MANILA, Philippines — Administration-allied ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Yap admitted on Wednesday that among his personal reason for seeking a probe on ABS-CBN’s alleged violations of its franchise is the network’s alleged biased coverage of Deputy Speaker and presidential son Paolo Duterte’s alleged involvement in illegal drug activities in the country.
In an interview with ANC, Yap recalled Senate hearings conducted back in 2017 when former Customs broker Mark Taguba, suspect in facilitating the shipment of a P6.4-billion drug haul from China in May 2017, appeared to implicate Duterte, then vice mayor of Davao City, and is brother-in-law, Manases Carpio — husband of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
Taguba, in one of the Senate hearing, claimed to have paid as much as P1 million a week to the so-called “Davao group” of the Bureau of Customs, who allegedly claimed to be collecting money for Duterte. Taguba however clarified that he did not personally meet Duterte, and apologized for implicating him, while the presidential son has since denied the allegations.
Fast forward, Yap said ABS-CBN failed to do a follow-up report that Taguba had cleared Duterte of the alleged illegal acts.
“Ako, this is my personal opinion, pero sabi ko nga isang boto lang ako. Pero kung pwede man, i-open ko rin yung experience ng kaibigan ko sa ABS-CBN. May kaibigan ako dati na alleged drug lord siya, nasa hearing, nilabas ng ABS-CBN News na tong si ganito — sabihin ko na pangalan si Paolo Duterte — na sinabi daw druglord,” Yap said in an interview with ANC.
(This is my personal opinion, but like I said, I only have one vote. If I may, I would open up my friend’s experience with ABS-CBN. I have a friend who was previously allegedly tagged as a drug lord. In a hearing, ABS-CBN reported that Paolo Duterte was a drug lord.)
“Yung Mark Taguba sinabi na hindi niya na-meet si Paolo Duterte, wala nang bumawi, wala na nagsabi sa news na hindi pala siya kasama dito, sinabi ng Mark Taguba (Taguba later said that he never met Paolo Duterte. No one mentioned in the news that Duterte was not involved in the illegal activities as per Mark Taguba),” the lawmaker added.
Yap underscored that the media is “very powerful” that it can imprint impressions on the viewing public.
“So ang nangyari, naiwan sa utak ng tao na, ‘Ah eto druglord pala ito kasi ganito.’ Pero yung totoo, kumbaga, hindi naman talaga siya kakilala ng tao so naiwan na sa isip ng tao (What happened was, it was imprinted in people’s minds that, ‘Oh, this person is a druglord.’ But the truth is, Taguba does not know him, but it was already imprinted in people’s minds),” Yap said.
“Sa akin, ‘yung mga buhay ng tao na nasisira rin, ‘yun yung ibang concerns. Marami kayong natutulungang buhay, totoo yun. Pero may mga buhay rin na nasisira. Okay lang po yung mga guilty, kung rapist talaga. Kaya lang paano kung hindi?” he added.
(For me, there are some people whose lives got ruined, so those are the concerns. You are helping a lot of people, that’s true. But there are also lives that are ruined. It’s okay if they are guilty, if they are real rapists. But what if they are not?)
Yap, together with Duterte and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, earlier filed a resolution seeking a probe into ABS-CBN’s “probable violations” of its franchise. The said resolution is among those being tackled in the hearings on ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise.
Yap was pressed by the ANC anchor Karen Davila if this was Duterte’s reason in seeking a probe on the network, to which the solon quipped: “Siya (Duterte) hindi (‘yun ang rason). Ako po, yan ang dahilan (It is not Duterte’s reason. For me, that is the reason why I filed the resolution).
“Kasi ‘yung tao kaibigan ko, alam ko naman kung sa tingin ko naman totoo ‘yung sinasabi against him, e hindi naman ako siguro magiging kaibigan niya (Duterte is my friend and I know that if the allegations were true, then I think I would not be his friend),” he added.
He added: “‘Yan lang yung sa akin, yung personal reason ko pero yung sa kanya never kong tinanong. Kaya nga sabi ko, yung tao mabait na tao, maayos na tao. Never siyang nagsasalita ng kung anong hindi magaganda.”
Davila, for her part, clarified that “no anchor or journalist would ever name any authority as a drug lord and calling it a fact because that would be extremely libelous.”
“It will be of course ABS-CBN who will be checking into these allegations by looking through the files, looking at all the stories done,” Davila said.