MANILA (UPDATE) - Lawmaker Eric Go Yap on Thursday denied ABS-CBN Corp. offered him a P200-million bribe to vote for the renewal of the media network's broadcast franchise.
On Wednesday, the ACT-CIS party-list representative, who also chairs the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, said somebody who claimed to be an emissary of ABS-CBN called him more than 2 weeks ago and convinced him to vote in favor of the network's franchise application in exchange for P200 million.
"Simple lang ang sagot ko. Hindi for sale ang prinsipyo at boto ko," he said in a statement.
(My answer was simple. My principle and vote are not for sale.)
In a media interview Thursday, Yap said, "'Di ko po sinasabi galing sa ABS-CBN 'yun."
(I did not say that it came from ABS-CBN.)
"May isang tao nagpakilala lang na emisaryo siya ng ABS-CBN. At ako po ay hindi ko naman vinerify 'yun dahil, siyempre, saan ka nakakita ng tumawag sa iyo out of the blue and then, nag-offer ng P200 million 'pag ako bumoto ng 'Yes?'" he added.
(There was just this person who claimed to be an ABS-CBN emissary. And I did not get to verify that because, of course, where can you find somebody calling you out of the blue and then, offering 200 million if I vote 'Yes'?)
Yap is also a member of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises and vice chair of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability that wrapped up this week their deliberations on ABS-CBN's application for a fresh 25-year franchise.
ABS-CBN, whose previous franchise expired on May 4, said it "did not send an emissary to bribe any lawmaker to vote in favor of our franchise application."
"We believe in the process and we have participated in the process. We answered all issues raised in the past 12 hearings," it added.
Yap said he wondered why news reports of other outfits, which were all based from his Wednesday statement, said he was accusing ABS-CBN of attempting to bribe him.
"Uulitin ko, hindi ko po sinasabi na galing siya sa ABS-CBN at ako ay naniniwala doon," the lawmaker said.
(I repeat, I am not saying it came from ABS-CBN, and I believe that.)
"Eto po ay hindi verified. May mga nagpapanggap lang, sa tingin ko po kasi, uso ngayon 'yung text eh; may nagte-text nanalo ka ng P1 million, ng load pero peke pala," he added.
(This is not verified. Some are just pretending because, in my view, text scams are common these days; some will text you that you won P1 million, or load, but are actually fake.)
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, in an interview over Teleradyo, said Yap's claim could inflict damage on the network's integrity.
Because bribery of public officials is a crime, the lawmaker urged Yap to name the alleged emissary.
"Alam naman natin na mali 'yun, krimen 'yan. May batayan 'yung panawagan na kung kakilala ng ating kasamahan na kung sino 'yun ay dapat isawalat niya," he said.
(We know it's a crime. So there's a reason for our colleague to expose this.)
"If it's an anonymous caller at hindi kilala, siguro ang dapat ginawa no'n ay hindi na inilabas," Zarate added.
(If it's an anonymous caller and you don't know this person, maybe the right thing to do is not release it.)
Yap is among 3 lawmakers, including Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte, who filed in May a resolution seeking an investigation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN Corp. of its previous franchise.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) forced ABS-CBN off the air on May 5, citing the network's expired franchise, and despite an earlier commitment to lawmakers it would issue a provisional authority to operate while Congress deliberated on the broadcaster's franchise renewal.
Last week, 2 alias cease and desist orders were also served by NTC against ABS-CBN's digital broadcast in Metro Manila and its sister company Sky Cable's direct broadcast satellite service nationwide.
The network employs 11,000 employees throughout its various subsidiaries.
news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp.