Bongbong says ABS-CBN franchise still up to Congress, must ‘fix issues’

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 26 2022 05:41 PM

MANILA - Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said he will leave it up to Congress to decide on ABS-CBN’s franchise if he gets elected. 

In an interview with radio DWIZ 882, the former senator said that ABS-CBN should first fix the issues raised before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises before it reapplies for a 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. 

(In the ABS-CBN franchise [hearings], what I saw, the process in the House of Representatives, the problem why the franchise extension was denied was because there were problems seen--violation of tax codes and other things.)

Marcos said that if ABS-CBN is able to settle these issues, then the company can reapply for a franchise.

“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.

(When they have fixed this, settled this, what were raised in the ABS hearing, if they can fix that, then let’s bring back their application to the Committee on [Legislative] Franchises in the House of Representatives. Let them study it again.)

ABS-CBN has maintained that it has no tax deficiencies, which was confirmed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue during the 2020 hearings on its application for a franchise. 

The presidential aspirant pointed out that the government should give the broadcasting company a chance to renew its franchise despite it being a “critic” of the Marcos family.

“ABS-CBN has been a very fervid critic of me, my family, all lahat sa mga panig ng mga Marcos,” he said. 

“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?”

(So that’s not what we are talking about. What we’re talking about are the violations that were raised. If those are fixed, why shouldn't the franchise be given back?)

The first time the government shut down ABS-CBN was right after the declaration of martial law in 1972 under Bongbong's father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos. 

Marcos also said the House can include a probationary period for its franchise. 

“Kung talagang gusto nilang (House of Representatives) bantayan eh di make it provisional so that there is a probationary trial period or something like that,” Marcos said.

Channels formerly held by ABS-CBN were granted to a company owned by billionaire Manny Villar, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's biggest supporters. 

Another channel formerly used by ABS-CBN to air its TVPlus channels was given to a company owned by controversial religious leader Apollo Quiboloy, who is also one of Duterte's most vocal supporters. 


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