‘Legally not possible’ for gov’t to take over ABS-CBN assets – Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said it is “legally not possible” for the government to take over the assets of broadcasting company ABS-CBN Corp., which was shut down by a House panel.
“Legally, it’s not possible. Because the possession of the property, as well as the other assets, is with the ABS-CBN Corporation, of which the majority owner is the Lopez family,” Gatchalian explained during an online interview with reporters.
Gatchalian further said it is also “legally and technically impossible” for the government to use the media network giant’s frequency.
“;Yung frequency bumalik sa gobyerno. Ihiwalay natin ‘yung assets and frequency. Pwedeng gamitin ng gobyerno ‘yun kung gusto nilang gamitin, pero hindi mo magagamit ang frequency kung wala kang equipment which are the assets that were invested by ABS-CBN Corporation,” he pointed out.
(The frequency will be returned to the government. Let’s separate assets and frequency. The government can use that if they want to but you can’t if you don’t have the equipment which are the assets that were invested by ABS-CBN Corporation)
“So without the permission of ABS-CBN Corporation, hindi magagamit ‘yung equipment (they can’t use the equipment). Therefore, hindi magagamit ‘yung frequency (they can’t use the frequency),” he added. “The frequency is very specific to the equipment.”
After 13 hearings, the House legislative franchises committee junked ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh 25-year franchise.
Seventy lawmakers voted to adopt the recommendation of the technical working group denying the network’s legislative franchise application.
After the franchise bid was denied, House Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte called for the government’s temporary use of ABS-CBN’s radio and TV frequencies for distance learning this coming school year.
Meanwhile, a supposed Zoom meeting among congressmen that went viral on social media purportedly revealed a plan to seize ABS-CBN’s compound in Quezon City.
During the alleged virtual meeting, the congressmen led by Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla, and Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, supposedly recommended pressuring the Lopez family to sell ABS-CBN, fining company P1.97 trillion for alleged violations of its old franchise, stopping ABS-CBN subsidiary Sky Cable, and transferring control of the network to its workers.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gave his comment on the alleged ABS-CBN compound takeover plot, reminding that private property is “constitutionally protected.”
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