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ABS-CBN execs, employees and loyal Kapamilyas’ hopes have fallen again on declining chance on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal

Now that most of their hopes and chances are shattered, does that mean ABS-CBN’s only hope is when President Rodrigo Duterte’s reign comes to an end?

It is unfortunate that during the pandemic, this issue adds to the anxiety of the executives and employees of ABS-CBN. Apparently, ABS-CBN employees and artists have once again lost their hope in the slight possibility of ABS CBN’s franchise renewal.

Even before ABS-CBN started taking action on the suggestion to reopen a hearing in the case, a huge pillar blocked their path when President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has explicitly stated that he will never allow the network to return on air. Let’s backtrack to the hope that ABS-CBN was given to. This year, it was announced that the House of Representatives could finally vote on the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise.

To discuss and settle the unfinished business, Rep. Michael Defensor of the Anakalusugan Party-List began bringing the report to the plenary.

“We either affirm the committee report and do away with that unfinished business before we continue with the other businesses of the day that we are considering as the plenary.”

If brought to the plenary session, the House could either confirm or reject the decision of the panel that voted 70-11 in favor of denying ABS-CBN a new franchise, despite government agencies clearing the media giant of any wrongdoing. It would also prepare for the entire House to decide on ABS-CBN’s franchise’s fate, which was rejected by the Chamber Franchise Committee in July 2020.

Sadly, the rejection by the House Committee of ABS-CBN’s request for a new franchise is already final, as no lawmaker has appealed its decision, chair of the panel. But the House Legislative Franchises Committee Chairman Rep. Franz Alvarez pointed out that the ABS-CBN franchise issue will be the issue of the next Congress, which brings hope for the network.

Not long ago, this chance was shattered when it came from The President himself stated that he will not allow the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue a license to operate ABS-CBN even when Congress renews the network’s franchise. In a televised meeting on the Government’s response to COVID-19, PRRD said that he knew of plans to give the network a chance to use free TV and radio frequencies again.

“Itong nangyari sa itong mga Lopez Group of Companies. Ang Congress is planning to restore the franchise of the Lopezes.”

“Wala akong problema doon kung i-restore ninyo. But if you say that if they can operate kung may — may ano na sila, no, I will not allow them,” Duterte said.

Duterte said that the Lopezes had first to settle their alleged tax liability, a claim that the Office of Internal Revenue had been debunked for a long time.

“Unless and until mabayaran ng mga Lopez ang taxes nila, I will not — I will ignore your franchise and I will not give them the license to operate. Kalokohan ‘yan. Parang binigyan mo sila ng prize for their being — for committing criminal acts,” Duterte claimed.

Although ABS-CBN lawyers have already defended the debts referred to by PRRD that the network has cleared their obligations. During last year’s ABS-CBN franchise, BIR stated that the network had no tax deficiencies with the agency as it paid its taxes regularly.

“ABS-CBN Corporation ay regularly paying taxes for the past years. Na-check naman po na ‘yung dapat nilang i-withhold at na-remit naman nila sa gobyerno,” BIR Asst Commissioner Manuel Mapoy said.

Be that as it may, the station cannot be franchised. Thousands of ABS-CBN artists and workers who lost their jobs due to their network’s closure are once again exhausted. However, ABS-CBN continues to serve the Filipino people albeit the fall of the Philippines’ largest media company.

Now that most of their hopes and chances are shattered, does that mean ABS-CBN’s only hope is when President Rodrigo Duterte’s reign comes to an end? We will never know.

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