Solon asks NTC, BIR to probe ABS-CBN deal with ZOE

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A lawmaker urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to investigate ABS-CBN’s block time deal with the licensed television station, ZOE Broadcasting Network.

New House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano said the agreement could have legal and tax issues after the ABS-CBN show returned to free TV last October 10.

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“There is a legal issue about it. Let’s just see what will happen there,” the Abang Lingkod party-list representative told reporters in a virtual press conference last Wednesday.

Paduano, who leads a 23-member bloc in the House of Representatives, also hinted at another congressional inquiry against ABS-CBN.

“Let the NTC do the study or investigation on that matter. Then NTC will recommend it to Congress, to the committee on franchise, and the committee will act on it. We also have the responsibility and the right to investigate it,” he said, citing Congress’ oversight function.

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Aside from legal matters surrounding the block time deal, Paduano said BIR should also look into tax concerns since ZOE TV has a tax-exempt status being a religious broadcasting entity.

Solon asks NTC, BIR to probe ABS-CBN deal with ZOE

“Once you’re a commercial TV or network, you have to pay your taxes. That’s my issue with ABS-CBN. The profits of ABS-CBN go to Big Dipper (because Philippine Economic Zone Authority accredits them). That’s tax evasion. There’s really an issue there. You have to pay your taxes,” he said.

“The BIR should check on it, and the NTC (too). If you’re a commercial entity, you have to pay your taxes,” he insisted.

However, Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said he did not see anything wrong with the block time deal.

“I have no problem with that because this block time arrangement – it is not a utilization of the franchise; it is the franchise of ZOE, and they are buying into it,” he explained.

“So ABS-CBN is still a corporation, and it is within their right to do so,” Defensor said.

Televangelist-turned-congressman Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva of CIBAC party-list owns ZOE TV. He rebranded the network and is now called A2Z Channel 11.

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