4 options still open to ABS-CBN
After the “brutal killing” of ABS-CBN’s application for a new franchise in the House of Representatives last week, several options are still available for the giant network.
First, it can file a motion for reconsideration before the House committee on legislative franchise. Second, it may initiate a people’s initiative to gather 6 million signatures to overpower Congress’ rejection of its franchise application. But this move is contentious, legally tedious and time-consuming. Third, it can wait for the leadership of the House to be passed from incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to Rep. Lord Allan Velasco this October and hope for a less hostile environment. And lastly, it can pray for a “regime change” in 2022.
As I’m writing this column, the expected layoff of thousands of employees from all ABS-CBN divisions has started. And contrary to the earlier practice of plus-plus benefits for retiring or retrenched personnel, the network will cover only legally mandated separation payments.
———-Ten Metro Manila representatives voted to deny ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise application—three from Manila, two from Valenzuela and one each from Quezon City, Pasay, Caloocan, Las Piñas and Marikina.
They were Manila’s 5th District Rep. Cristal Bagatsing (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, or PDP-Laban), 3rd District Rep. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto of the National Unity Party (NUP), and 2nd District Rep. Rolando Valeriano (NUP).
Valenzuela’s 1st District Rep. Weslie Gatchalian of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez (PDP-Laban) also voted against ABS-CBN together with Quezon City 1st District Rep. Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo (PDP-Laban), son of former Rep. Bingbong Crisologo. Voting the same way were Caloocan’s 1st District Rep. Dale “Along” Malapitan (PDP-Laban), son of Mayor Oscar Malapitan; Las Piñas lone district Rep. Camille Villar, daughter of Sen. Cynthia Villar and businessman former Sen. Manny Villar; former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair and Marikina 1st District Rep. Bayani Fernando (NPC) and former Pasay mayor now lone Rep. Antonino “Tony” Calixto (PDP-Laban).
Of course, even if the couple did not vote, we can include Speaker Cayetano and his wife, Taguig Rep. Ma. Laarni Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party, among those who turned down ABS-CBN’s application.
I was hoping that the representatives would be allowed to explain their votes in that Friday massacre but they did not. Otherwise, we would have heard interesting excuses.
It is also on record that the NUP was instrumental in the denial of ABS-CBN’S franchise with its 17 congressmen led by Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Cavite’s 8th District Rep. Bambol Tolentino, Bulacan’s 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio Alvarado and deputy speaker and Davao City’s 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte voting the same way.
Meanwhile, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor and deputy speaker Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of Sikap spearheaded the 14 party list representatives who voted against the TV network.
Others who voted similarly were 10 PDP-Laban solons, nine Nacionalistas led by Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, seven Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats representatives with Majority Leader Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, wife Yedda and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s son, Rep. Mikey Arroyo, and five NPC congressmen.
This potent mix of powerful political families and “probing” legislators pushed their personal and varying agendas and succeeded in cutting off ABS-CBN’s neck that Black Friday. INQ
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