House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said that ABS-CBN can still operate until 2022, even without its renewed franchise as it is deemed extended.
“Hindi ganoon ka-urgent. Bakit? Kasi hanggang March 2022, pwedeng mag-operate. There’s a consensus that while we’re discussing the issue, walang reason na isara ang ABS-CBN. Definitely, before March 22, possibly in May if we have cooler heads. Worst case, after SONA.”
Staunch Duterte critic Agot Isidro interpreted Cayetano’s statement and pointed out the possible reason for the repeated delays.
“Kasi kailangan ko pa ang ABS-CBN sa eleksyon sa 2022. In the meantime, hawak ko sila sa leeg. #readingbetweenthelines”
Kasi kailangan ko pa ang ABS-CBN sa eleksyon sa 2022…
— Agot Isidro (@agot_isidro) February 15, 2020
The majority of netizens reacting to Agot’s post on Twitter shared the same sentiments and some of them called Cayetano “hypocrisy personified.”
Cayetano is hypocrisy personified!
— Tristan C. Aparece (@Tramkyzako) February 15, 2020
Godbless sa kanilang lhat n mga politikong pang sarili lng hangad..
— eric vergara dela cruz (@DelaVergara) February 16, 2020
I agree nalalapit na an election gigipitin ang abs cbn ni duterte hahahaha nga hinayopak na pamahalaan nga alagad n duterte in dirty people of govt
— Genelyn (@Genelyn78067658) February 15, 2020
Tama ka dyan mam agot gami gamitan lang yan
— Akosileahghie1 (@Akosileahghie11) February 17, 2020
Though Cayetano acknowledged the importance of ABS-CBN’s impact on its employees and to the country, he also questioned how come TV 5 and GMA Network did not receive such clamor over their franchises.
Cayetano said: “Don’t get me wrong, napaka-importante po ng franchise ng ABS, di lang sa labing-isang libong empleyado, importante sa buong bansa, sa demokrasya natin. Bakit walang ganitong clamor na ‘wag bigyan ng prangkisa ang 5 at 7, kasi nga somehow nagkaron ng issues against two na peculiar to channel 2.
He continued: “Sabihin natin 11 thousands na empleyado, eh wala pa kong naririnig dun sa mga 11 thousands na naapi e, yung mga contractual, yung mga tinanggal, yung mga pag lumipat ng ibang channel, di tatanggapin pabalik, question, ABS lang ba ‘yan? Hindi po, nangyayari ‘yan sa organization lahat.”
Cayetano confirmed that they are ready to work with NTC to ensure the operation of the giant network will not be interrupted.
“There should not be any reason to hassle not only the operation of ABS, but also under news, as the President said ‘wag kayong magbago, kung ano nakikita niyo sa lipunan, i-report niyo lang.”
On the contrary, Buhay Representative Lito Atienza refused to believe in Cayetano’s statement, as he firmly doubts NTC will allow ABS-CBN to run without permit and called it a “pipe dream.”
Atienza said, “The NTC will simply say we cannot possibly give you a provisional authority because the chief lawyer of the republic wants to shut you down.”