MANILA - A lawmaker questioned on Monday the legality of how the Lopez family regained ownership and control of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. after these were seized by the government when martial law was declared by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.
Cavite Congressman Elpidio Barzaga said he wanted to know if the return of ABS-CBN to the Lopezes followed “proper processes.”
"May nagsasabi rin na yung mga ari-arian na diumano ay inagaw ng ating pamahalaan, katulad ng mga properties ng ABS-CBN ay hindi naging tama ang proseso sa pagsasauli,” Barzaga said during Monday’s congressional hearing on the network’s franchise application.
(There are those who say that the properties seized by the government, like the properties of ABS-CBN, were returned without the proper process.)
ABS-CBN legal counsel Arecio Rendor earlier said that the Lopezes legally reacquired possession of ABS-CBN, and that the family never lost its ownership of the company even during martial law.
The Lopezes regained the company after the EDSA Revolution, during the time of former President Corazon Aquino.
“Sa pagbabalik ba ng ABS-CBN Corporation, pagkatapos ng martial law, ng kanilang mga equipment, may ibinayad ba ang ABS-CBN Corporation sa pamahalaan na pinamumunuan ni Cory Aquino?” Barzaga asked Rendor.
(When ABS-CBN and its equipment were returned after martial law, did ABS-CBN pay the government that was then led by Cory Aquino?)
Rendor, however, pointed out that it was ABS-CBN that filed a case against the government seeking compensation for the seizure and use of its facilities.
Barzaga continued this line of questioning.
“Bagamat nakapag-broadcast ang ABS-CBN, napasauli ang kanilang property, not a single centavo was paid by ABS-CBN to the Cory government. Walang binayaran?” Barzaga asked Rendor.
(Despite ABS-CBN being able to broadcast, their property returned, not a single centavo was paid by ABS-CBN to the Cory government. Nothing was paid?)
Rendor again pointed out that it was ABS-CBN who filed a case seeking compensation.
“Wala nga po kasi po sila nga po yung claimant,” said Rendor.
(None because they are the claimants.)
The return of ABS-CBN to the Lopezes after martial law is one of the issues put forward by lawmakers seeking to block the network’s franchise application.
In earlier hearings, lawmakers also questioned the citizenship of ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Gabby Lopez, and the issuance of Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) by ABS-CBN Holdings Corp to foreigners.
The justice department has said that Gabby Lopez is a Filipino citizen and also a dual citizen, while public and private regulators have attested to the legality of PDRs.
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