MANILA - A lawmaker asked ABS-CBN executives on Monday why the network’s franchise was not renewed during the time of President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III, whose youngest sister was then a talent of the company.
Congressman Mike Defensor said the network should have pursued its franchise renewal back in 2014 during the 16th Congress because there was “some congruence in terms of principles” between the network and the Aquino administration.
Defensor pointed out that then President Aquino’s sister, Kris, was still a talent of ABS-CBN during those years. He claimed that Kris would have helped push for the renewal of the company’s franchise.
“Kris Aquino po, 'di nyo kinausap na tumulong para i-renew ang inyong prangkisa?” Defensor asked during Monday’s congressional hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise application.
(Kris Aquino, you did not talk to her to help renew your franchise?)
Kris was one of the network’s biggest talents before 2016. She hosted game and talk shows on ABS-CBN.
Carlo Katigbak, the company’s president and CEO, said that he never talked to Kris about the franchise. Mark Lopez, the network’s chairman, also said he never talked to President Aquino’s sister about the issue.
In September 2016, Kris left ABS-CBN after 22 years and signed a contract with APT Entertainment Inc., which is closely associated with ABS-CBN's rival GMA-7. However, in April 2018, she signed a single motion picture contract with ABS-CBN's Star Cinema.
Katigbak said the company applied for a franchise during the 16th Congress, but only one hearing on ABS-CBN's application was set.
Lopez said, company officials thought that they still had time and decided to just refile the application in the next Congress.
“We felt that we had time pa naman so we didn’t pursue it at that point when it was not moving anymore,” Lopez said.
“I don’t think there's anything else I can add Mr. Chair except that we did file for the renewal of our franchise application with Congress and unfortunately for us, it was not acted on the 16th and 17th Congress,” Katigbak said.
Defensor also asked why the network’s talents and employees had not been more vocal years back when the earlier franchise bills had been filed in Congress.
Katigbak said that the shutdown of the company’s broadcast operations pushed its talents and employees to finally speak up.
“Sa ngayon nagsasalita po yung mga artista at empleyado kasi tinanggal na po kami sa ere. I think more than any other reason, that's the reason why people started speaking out,” Katigbak said.
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