Lawmaker Mike Defensor said Tuesday the ABS-CBN executives know what to do with their 11,000 employees who could lose their jobs after the network’s franchise application was denied.
“The ABS-CBN executives know what to do,” Defensor told ANC.
“There are many business people – I myself have a business, we know that there is a solution,” the Anakalusigan party-list Representative added.
Defensor stood by the decision of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises on July 10 to deny the application of ABS-CBN for a new 25-year franchise. He said the company could “return” to its employees the P3.2 billion worth of tax it allegedly “evaded.”
“If you really feel for the employees, you know that there’s so much money there. There are retained earnings where you can get from to help the employees, while we are trying to resolve everything, and not just to retrench them and take them out of the company,” he said.
In May, President and chief executive officer (CEO) Carlo Katigbak shared that ABS-CBN will be forced to layoff employees if their franchise renewal would not be approved.
The network at the time was losing P30-35 million in advertising revenues daily, Katigbak said.
Defensor said he “couldn’t understand” why ABS-CBN officials “were using as a cover the employees and those that will be out of work” when it was trying to renew its franchise.
“All applicants for mass media, broadcasting know that at some point, there may be a chance of denial,” he said.
“I turn the tables to the executive of ABS-CBN, that when they apply, they knew that this was a business application.”
Defensor said that while he feels sorry for the broadcasting company’s employees, he and the other 69 lawmakers who voted yes to deny the franchise could not just let the supposed violations of the ABS-CBN pass.
“My heart goes out for everyone who’s been affected by this. But the situation is that we have a constitutional duty to decide,” he said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said earlier 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.