CA hearing sizzles as Hontiveros, Marcoleta spar over ABS-CBN shutdown
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros and Sagip Representative Rodante Marcoleta battled head-to-head when the issue of the shutdown of ABS-CBN was reignited on Wednesday.
Hontiveros raised the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN as a Commission on Appointments (CA) panel deliberated on the ad-interim appointment of Commission on Audit Chairman Gamaliel Cordoba, who served as a commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The opposition senator recalled that Cordoba stated under oath that the NTC would issue a provisional authority to the media giant, pending approval of its franchise. However, a cease-and-desist order was issued instead.
She noted that the closure affected thousands of workers, their families, and millions of viewers and listeners of the network.
Cordoba said that he acted based on legal advice.
“Kahit po siya legal, medyo mabigat din po sa aming pakiramdam kaya po nga during the House hearings noon, ako po’y humingi ng paumanhin sa mga taong naapektuhan dahil po ginawa ko lang ang aking trabaho at sinunod ko lang naman po ang batas,” he said.
“Gusto ko pong ulitin ngayon na pasensya na po kayo. I just had to follow the rule of law,” Cordoba added.
Hontiveros continued questioning the issue until Marcoleta, who opposed granting the ABS-CBN franchise, noted that the matter is “moot and academic.”
“It’s not about press freedom. It’s about [franchises]. Iba po ‘yun… We should not belabor on this case,” Marcoleta said.
Hontiveros responded: “I am not belaboring. I am raising questions and receiving answers sa mga issues na unresolved. It is not moot and academic.”
“Kasi ito po, sa aking hamak na opinyon lamang, ay isang continuing injustice. Hindi po siya naging win-win situation. Kung win-win lamang po, hindi na po ito kailangang itanong pa,” the senator added.
Hontiveros further asserted that the closure of ABS-CBN is a press freedom issue.
In May 2020, ABS-CBN ceased broadcast operations after failing to secure a legislative franchise.
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