Sagip Partylist Congressman Rodante Marcoleta countered Rep. Lito Atienza’s claim that ABS-CBN will be given a new franchise in 2021.
In a report by Inquirer.net, Marcoleta said it will still be hard for ABS-CBN to get a new franchise even with the change in House leadership.
Marcoleta was one of the 70 congressmen who voted to kill the ABS-CBN franchise in July. He was also one of the main oppositors of the franchise bill along with Boying Remulla and Mike Defensor.
According to him, ABS-CBN needs to first go through major organizational reforms before they will be given a fresh 25-year franchise.
“ABS-CBN has to go through major reforms, starting with a change in management and facilities, before they are given a new franchise to operate,” said Marcoleta.
He added that the Kapamilya network should address first the issues laid in the previous franchise hearing like violations on the PDRs, labor issues,, and foreign ownership.
“[ABS-CBN should] address the various violations of securities and labor laws, and the constitutional provision mandating the 100 percent Filipino ownership of a media company.” he added.
However, those issues raised by Marcoleta were already answered by ABS-CBN in the previous hearing.
Several government agencies who were invited to the hearing also cleared ABS-CBN of any grave constitutional violation that can cost their franchise.
On the issue of PDRs, the Securities and Exchange Commission said ASB-CBN’s PDRs offering is legal and proper. On the issue of tax deficiencies, BIR testified that ABS-CBN has been paying their tax dues every year making them one of the top tax contributors in the country.
In the issue of foreign ownership, DOJ said, former ABS-CBN chairman Gabby Lopez is 100% Filipino. And DOLE said ABS-CBN’s labor cases were all attended by the proper courts and that there are no ultra-serious violations that can cause the company’s shutdown.
Marcoleta and Duterte’s allies through the compass of ousted Speaker Alan Cayetano however insisted that it is still the Congress’s discretion to give the franchise even though several government agencies have cleared ABS-CBN of any significant violations.
Meanwhile, Marcoleta’s latest statement was in response to Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza’s previous pronouncement that ABS-CBN will definitely be back in 2021 with a new franchise.
“Hindi hula yun, that’s a reality mangyayari ‘yun.
“I am really confident, justice will prevail by next year,” Atienza said.
“They were maltreated, they were eventually assassinated, so they should be given justice.
“Ako, I am just giving the new Speaker time to settle. Hindi naman natin puwedeng biglain, major battle, kauupo lamang niya. But I am not shying away from the responsibility and for the opportunity to come – that I’m working on – para maibalik natin ‘yung floor discussion. Hindi ‘yung special firing squad. Ang pumatay sa ABS-CBN, firing squad lang, eh,” Atienza added.
Atienza was one of the prime supporters of the ABS-CBN franchise bill. During the hearing, Atienza defended ABS-CBN from the unfounded allegations of Marcoleta, Remulla, and Defensor.
But still, 70 congressmen voted to kill the franchise during their voting on July 10 causing ABS-CBN to shut down its free TV broadcast.