Brave 11: Solons who voted for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise
This article is one of a series commemorating the 70-11 House of Representatives vote on July 10, 2020 rejecting the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise.
MANILA â In a House of Representatives dominated by allies of President Duterte, these lawmakers have been dubbed the âBrave 11â – brave not to bow to pressure from an administration that had vowed to force ABS-CBN to cease broadcasts.
With thousands of jobs at stake on the broadcast network, lawmakers opposed a House resolution that rejected the media giant’s request for a new broadcast license, a move also seen by critics as an infringement. freedom of the press.
Praised for standing their ground, these lawmakers found the nation’s leading broadcaster did not violate the terms of its expired franchise after marathon hearings, which lasted nearly 100 hours, one of the longest in history of Congress.
Lawmakers who voted to renew the ABS-CBN franchise were:
âBAKIT KAMI KUMONTI?
Batangas 6th District representative Vilma Santos-Recto was surprised by the result of a House panel vote on July 10 that dashed hopes of resuming free TV and radio services from ABS- CBN.
She said she expected a “comfortable” number in the July 10 vote as ABS-CBN responded to the various allegations made against it. But some proponents of ABS-CBN franchise bills have backed down.
âBiglang, bakit kami kumonti ng ganito na lang? Very important naman na bigla na lang kami naging 11,â she said.
(Why have the numbers suddenly fallen so low for us? Eleven is a very big drop.)
In January, she introduced another bill to renew ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise.
“Despite the growing popularity of social media, television remains the preferred mass medium in our province and other remote areas,” Santos-Recto said in the explanatory note to his Bill 8298.
âABS-CBN has remained steadfast in its commitment to reach as many Filipinos as possible by bringing their quality core program closer to our compatriots by taking advantage of emerging broadcast technologies,â she added.
“ABOVE AND BEYOND”
Laguna 3rd District representative Sol Aragones couldn’t hold back tears when her colleagues killed the network’s new franchise offering.
âMalungkot po ang araw na ito (It’s a sad day),â she said.
Aragones was a journalist for the network before joining politics.
âThirteen years in the ABS-CBN in naghanap-buhay pero sabi ko nga, hindi na ito ang kuwento ko. This is a big part of running ABS-CBN through ABS-CBN and the same way, âshe said.
(I worked for ABS-CBN for 13 years. Like I said, it’s not my story anymore but the ones that still work in ABS-CBN and its viewers.)
During one of the House hearings, Aragones said that ABS-CBN “went above and beyond” as a broadcast network.
âABS-CBN was not only interested in reporting the news, but it went beyond the obligations of a broadcast network by helping those in need,â she said. “It doesn’t matter how few they are, however far away they may be. Really, simply, ABS-CBN then meant as it currently stands in the service of Filipinos.”
‘CHERRY PICKING TESTIMONIES’
Ahead of the crucial House vote, the Legislative Franchises Committee appointed a three-member panel to draft recommendations on whether the closed broadcast network should be granted a new operating franchise.
The Technical Working Group (TWG), made up of Representative Xavier Jesus Romualdo from Camiguin, Representative Pablo John Garcia from Cebu and Representative Stella Quimbo from Marikina City, recommended denying ABS-CBN’s franchise application.
Quimbo, who represented the minority on the 3-member editorial board, disagreed with the resolution.
On July 10, 70 lawmakers passed the report in a landmark vote, shutting down much of ABS-CBN for good.
For Bayan Muna party list representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, the TWG selected testimony to match a narrative that ABS-CBN did not deserve a franchise despite being cleared by regulators during the hearings.
“Kung talagang busisiin mo ‘yong report, hindi lang full of inconsistencies tapos alanganin. Parang nag-cherry-pick lang ng gustong testimonials,” he said.
(If you take a close look at the report, it’s not just full of inconsistencies, it seems like it’s just handpicked from the testimonials.)
“In fact, some did not witness testimony from resource people from regulatory bodies.”
(In fact, the testimonials cited here are not from regulatory body contacts.)
The shutdown of ABS-CBN, Zarate said, also called into question the stability of the country’s regulatory regime.
âIf a big network like ABS-CBN is made up of regulatory agencies that have nothing to do with our regulatory regime being stable,â he said.
(If they shut down a large network like ABS-CBN, which regulators have previously said there are no violations, the question now is how stable is our regulatory regime?)
In the lower house of Congress, more than a dozen lawmakers have spoken out in favor of granting a new 25-year franchise to ABS-CBN.
Among them were lawmakers Rodrigo Abellanosa, Rosemarie Arenas, Lito Atienza, Arlene Brosas, France Castro, Eufemia Cullamat, Sarah Jane Elago, Lawrence Fortun, Ferdinand Gaite, Alfredo Garbin Jr., Mark Go, Edcel Lagman, Rufus Rodriguez, Josephine Sato , Joy Myra Tambunting and Micaela Violago.
Atienza challenged the panel’s decision rejecting the network’s new license as an “annulment of the lawsuit.”
“This is a canceled trial where the accused was cleared by evidence, documents and testimony from the authorities,” he said.
Lagman, who drafted one of ABS-CBN’s franchise bills, said the decision that killed the network’s franchise offering was a “conclusion.” He described the TWG’s role in the decision as “part of the masquerade”.
After lengthy hearings, the media conglomerate “rightly” deserves a new broadcast franchise, he said.
âMy scorecard shows an 8-0 sweep of the main issues in favor of the ABS-CBN Corporation franchise renewal,â he said.