Twitter users on Tuesday (May 26) refuted the issues raised by SAGIP partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, saying that the solon was merely repeating allegations against ABS-CBN that were already answered and cleared in February, making Marcoleta top Twitter trends on the day of the joint hearing.
One netizen (@dumidyeypee) tweeted, “instead of repeating answered issues, playing irrelevant videos and spreading misinformation, Cong. Marcoleta should have at least presented new inputs and pieces of evidence on why the ABS-CBN franchise must not be renewed. But he did not.”
In his speech, Rep. Marcoleta said ABS-CBN violated laws that is why it does not deserve a fresh 25-year franchise. However, it can be recalled in February’s Senate hearing that the concerned government agencies themselves cleared ABS-CBN from any violation. ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak himself reiterated that the network has done no wrong in his opening statement, which he delivered before Marcoleta took to the floor.
“Sabi po ng BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), bayad ang aming buwis. Nangaling po sa SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) na aprubado sa kanila ang pag-issue ng mga PDR (Philippine Depositary Receipts). Ang Department of Justice (DOJ) ang nagsabi na hindi labag sa prangkisa ang KBO (Kapamilya Box Office). Ang DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment) naman ay nagsabi na sumunod kami sa lahat ng compliance orders nila,” Katigbak said.
He also added, “wala po kaming nilabag na batas. Pero inaamin namin na hindi kami isang perpektong organisasyon. May mga kakulangan din po kami. At handa naming ayusin ang mga ito.”
The network’s president and CEO also highlighted the importance of being given due process in relation to critics’ arguments about following the law. He said, “sinasabi po ng mga bumabatikos sa amin, the law is the law and we agree. The law is the law. And under the law, we are innocent unless proven guilty. Up to now, there is no court that has determined we have broken any laws.”
Meanwhile, Katigbak used his opening statement to appeal to lawmakers to grant the network a 25-year franchise. He cited that the 11,000 employees of the network are suffering for fear of losing their source of income in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also responded to critics that ABS-CBN is not asking for pity, but rather asking to protect the livelihood of their workers.
Katigbak also made a case that giving ABS-CBN a franchise means that the network can continue its decades-long public service. One of which is the network’s Pantawid ng Pag-ibig campaign that was able to serve food to three million people in NCR, Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan that were affected by the quarantine.
“Hinihingi po namin na bigyan ng prangkisa ang ABS-CBN. Tapat po kaming naglilingkod sa bayan sa mahabang panahon, wala po kaming nilabag na batas, at nangangako po kami na patuloy kaming magsusumikap na maging mas mabuting kumpanya,” he stated.
Should the network be granted a franchise, Katigbak also committed that the network will “have the humility to listen to you on how ABS-CBN can continually be of better service to our country.”