‘Napagdiskitahan’: Senator Villanueva says on ABS-CBN franchise denial
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva said Wednesday that he could not discount the possibility that media giant ABS-CBN was only targeted as the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises denied its bid for a 25-year franchise.
Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Development, recalled that there was no clear violation established against the network during the Senate hearings in February and even after the recent marathon hearings conducted by the House panel.
“Klarong klaro sa amin during that time, and until now it’s not clear what law ABS-CBN has violated. We heard the Department of Justice, SEC (Security Exchange Commission), BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), and even DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment),” the lawmaker said in an online press conference.
He noted that there were no complaints found against the network whenever DOLE conducts its yearly inspections.
“Ngayon, parang may lumalabas na complaints allegedly and ‘yun lang ang nakakalungkot. Hindi mo maisantabi ‘yung pag-iisip na parang napagdiskitahan ang ABS-CBN,” he pointed out.
(Now, complaints have surfaced and that is saddening. You cannot discount the thought that it seems the ABS-CBN was only targeted.)
Villanueva also said the government should have been prepared to provide aid for the 11,000 workers of ABS-CBN whose jobs were affected by the denial of its franchise bid.
He said the government “should be there to give a helping hand.”
“Importante na handa ang gobyerno dito at meron tayong pang-ayuda para tulungan ang mga maaapektuhan dito,” said Villanueva.
(It is important that the government is prepared for this and we have aid for workers who will be affected by this.)
Villanueva likewise lamented that the denial of the franchise for ABS-CBN has adverse impacts on the economy and the business climate in the country.
He said that to deny the franchise of a company that has no clear violations of the law “sends a signal that politicians can stop a business operation on a whim.”
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