House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said it was the owners of ABS-CBN, and not the government shut the ABS-CBN down.
“It wasn’t the government who shut ABS-CBN down, rather it was their owners’ playing fast and loose with our laws in the past decades, that made the shutdown inevitable,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“As to the Oligarchs, like the owners of ABSCBN, whose historical institutional DNA is programmed to protect and grow their fortunes by controlling and abusing the system, they also deprive the country of billions in much needed funds by skirting and bending the law. Many times in connivance with the political elite,” he said.
The lawmaker added the “Oligarchs” were able to fully use the country’s legal system to victimize people. He said ABS-CBN hired “dekampanilya” attorneys who expertly twist the law to suit their commercial interests.
Cayetano also hit the network’s alleged methods for avoiding billions of taxes. “How can you argue that putting that much money in the pockets of one family, instead of having it benefit the millions of Filipinos who desperately need it, is in any way right or moral?”
“This is especially glaring when the same privilege of using public airwaves yields a much more beneficial result for the people when used by another network. The fact that GMA paid Php 3.13 Billion in taxes from 2017 to 2019, as compared to ABSCBN’s Php 563 million for the same period, makes it crystal clear that something has gone terribly wrong with the system. This despite ABSCBN being a bigger company that usually has bigger annual income than GMA,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano also denies that the rejected franchise is a press freedom issue.
“For those who continue to push the Freedom of the Press card, Congress is not stifling the right of any journalist, host, commentator, talent, or employee of ABSCBN – or any Filipino for that matter – from criticizing the government. We simply put an end to the privilege of one family in using a public resource to protect and promote their private interests,” he said.
The former senator and President Duterte’s running-mate in 2016 said he stood with the decision of the committee.
“In the meantime, let us continue to discuss rather than insult each other. And pray that together we will find the solutions to the consequences of all our decisions,” Cayetano said.