Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was asked again about his stand on the ABS-CBN franchise.
Marcos Jr. has recently faced Toni Gonzaga in an exclusive interview since he won the May 2022 elections.
The interview will be Toni’s first episode in Toni Talks which will air on Villar’s ALLTV network on its soft-launching on Tuesday, September 13.
Based on the teaser of the episode, Marcos Jr. was asked about Martial Law and his decision to get former Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile as his Presidential Legal Counsel, given his role in the EDSA People Power revolt in 1986.
Aside from that, the President was also asked about his stand on Congress’ fresh moves to grant ABS-CBN a new broadcast franchise.
In his previous interview in January 2022, then-presidential candidate Marcos Jr believed that ABS-CBN had committed violations that they must fix to be given a new franchise.
“Yung franchise ng ABS, nakita ko, ang naging proseso dun sa House of Representatives, ang naging problema kung bakit hindi tinuloy ang extension ng prangkisa ay dahil may mga nakitang problema — violation sa tax codes sa iba’t ibang bagay,” Marcos said.
“Kapag naayos nila yan at na-areglo nila, ang mga nakita nung doon sa hearing ng ABS, eh kung maayos nila yan, eh di ibalik natin yung application nila sa Committee on Franchises dun sa House of Representatives. Pag-aralan ulit nila.” Marcos said.
Marcos Jr. also added that although ABS-CBN is a known critic of his family, their new franchise lies in fixing their alleged violations and dues to the government.
“ABS-CBN has been a very fervid critic of me, my family, all lahat sa mga panig ng mga Marcos. So pero hindi yan ang pinag-uusapan.. Ang pinag-uusapan ay yun ngang mga violation na nakita. Kapag naayos yan, bakit naman hindi maibalik ang prangkisa?”
However, several government agency resource persons who testified before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises during the hearing said that ABS-CBN did not violate any provisions of their franchise.
Meanwhile, several bills were already filed at the House of Representatives seeking to grant the Kapamilya network a new broadcast franchise.
Aside from Surigao Rep. Johnny Pimentel and the Makabayan Bloc who filed their respective ABS-CBN franchise bills as early as June and July 2022, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado also filed their version of House Bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year broadcast franchise.
In his explanatory note, Bordado said ABS-CBN had played an important role in improving the lives of Filipinos by providing pertinent data, news and information.
“It has since limited the avenues where the Filipino people can gather pertinent data and news to help them make informed decisions, make coordinated action and efforts of rescue during extreme events based on timely updates, or amplify voices that might otherwise go unheard.
“The important role that the network plays in improving the lives of millions of Filipinos cannot be denied. Therefore, this bill seeks to grant ABS-CBN franchise to operate for 25 years,”
Rodriguez, on the other hand, said a new franchise for the Kapamilya network would aid them in providing uninterrupted service to the Filipino people.
“The franchise of ABS-CBN expired on May 4, 2020, midnight. In order to continue to provide uninterrupted and improved delivery of its services to the Filipino people, the franchise should be granted in the soonest possible time.”
ABS-CBN has been in shutdown since May 2020 following the National Telecommunication Commission’s cease and desist order and the Duterte-allied and Cayetano-led Congress’ killing of its franchise renewal application in July 2020.