ABS-CBN ‘not forced to shut down,’ says lawmaker
MANILA, Philippines — ABS-CBN was not forced to shut down, but it voluntarily went off-the-air last May 4, a lawmaker said on Monday, despite a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
During a joint House hearing, Deputy Speaker and Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta said that even though it was ordered to cease operations by the NTC, ABS CBN should have contested it if it wanted to, especially since there was yet no court order for it to go off-air.
“Boluntaryo sila na nagpinid ng kanilang istasyon, walang nagpwersa sa kanila. Kung talagang lalaban sila sa korte, hindi sila nagsara,” he said.
(They voluntarily closed their station, they were not forced. If they will fight in court, they should not have closed.)
“Kasi kahit na kayo ay makareceive ng cease and desist order, wala namang halimbawang court order na kinuha, kahit na sinong tao siguro na pupunta sa kanila, (sasabihin nila) ‘Bakit kami magsasara? Meron ba kayong court order?’ Edi dapat nilaban nila. Nagboluntaryo silang magsara,” Marcoleta added.
(If you received a cease and desist order, but without a court order, why would you close down? They should have appealed the NTC order. They closed down voluntarily.)
Last May 5, despite its commitment to Congress that it will issue a provisional authority to the embattled network as its franchise renewal is pending, the NTC issued a cease and desist order against ABS CBN.
On the same day, the network went off the air.
During the hearing, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba explained that the agency was only adhering to its mandate when it ordered the closure of the network.
“Trabaho lang ang aming isinagawa alinsunod sa mandato ng aming ahensya na naaayon sa batas (We were just doing our job based on our agency’s mandate and the law),” Cordoba said.
“Walang bahid o intention na makasakit ng damdamin o di kaya’y mag-abuso sa kahit kanino man. Sana po sa aming pagpapatuad ng aming trabaho ay wag mabigyan ng kung anumang kulay o interpretation na ito ay may masamang hangarin,” he added.
(We did not intend to hurt or abuse anyone. I hope that in carrying out our duties, the same would not be interpreted as being ill-motivated.)
Marcoleta also denied that he was influenced by someone or any group in opposing the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN. He explained that he was only inspired by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s appeal to reveal the truth.
“This is a very serious inference. Wala pong kumpas, si Speaker Alan Cayetano, hindi kumpas, sa ningas ng kanyang mga pakiusap, na kinakailangan na lumabas ang totoo para sa kapakanan ng bayan,” he said.
“Ningas ni Speaker Cayetano ang pinanindigan ko at lakas ng loob ko para isawalat ang nalalaman ko dito,” the lawmaker added.
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