Imee Marcos says 'very openminded' on ABS-CBN franchise

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 21 2021 01:26 PM | Updated as of Dec 21 2021 03:17 PM

Senator Imee Marcos, then former Ilocos governor, guests on DZMM's Ikaw Na Ba Senatorial candidates' interview, December 11, 2018. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News
Senator Imee Marcos, then former Ilocos governor, guests on DZMM's Ikaw Na Ba Senatorial candidates' interview, December 11, 2018. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News


MANILA - Sen. Imee Marcos said Tuesday she is "very openminded" on giving ABS-CBN Corporation a fresh broadcast franchise.

Marcos said she had a "very congenial working relationship" with Federico "Piki" Lopez, chairman and CEO of Energy Development Corporation, back when she was Ilocos Norte governor.

"It's very curious, I'm very openminded on this. I have experienced working with Piki Lopez in EDC, the biggest investor in Ilocos Norte when I was governor. I had no problems at all," Marcos told ANC's Headstart when asked where she stands on the possible reopening of the network.

Marcos was Ilocos Norte governor from 2010 until 2019.

On the other hand, Lopez, whose family suffered when Marcos' father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, imposed martial law from 1972 until 1981, is also a director of ABS-CBN Corp.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises in July 2020 denied the network a new broadcast franchise, putting to fruition President Rodrigo Duterte's threats to pull the plug on ABS-CBN over complaints of partisanship in the 2016 presidential elections.

Government regulators and other officials cleared ABS-CBN over allegations of tax fraud, violations of foreign ownership restrictions in mass media, among other legal issues.

"There was a bit of a back and forth between my brother and I and he said 'These are our enemies, surely you don’t want them in the province'. Tapos, sabi ko, ‘Yeah, but you know, I've asked them for everything--help for the schools, help for the supply chains of the farmers... and every single thing, they’ve said yes to.'"

The senator's brother, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is running for president in next year's elections.

"To my mind, under the new construct defined by law, and all the problems have already been revealed, once it solves all that, para sa 'kin, walang problema buksan yan, first 100 days para makita na natin," she said.

(To my mind, under the new construct defined by law, and all the problems have already been revealed, once it solves all that, for me there's no problem in reopening it in the first 100 days.)

The Constitution requires that franchise bills must originate from the House of Representatives.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed Senate Bill No. 1967 in January this year, seeking to give a fresh franchise to ABS-CBN for 25 years. Fifteen other senators, excluding Marcos, co-authored the measure, which remains pending at the Committee on Rules.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who is also vying for the presidency, said the broadcast shutdown of ABS-CBN and its regional networks is highlighted during times of disaster such as Typhoon Odette which ravaged the Visayas and Mindanao.

“Napakahirap pong magpadala ng mga pictures except ‘yong mga galing doon na nakalabas na. Kahit kami na nandoon, mahirap mag-communicate dito. Ito po, very common na sinasabi sa amin na, 'Wala na kasing ABS-CBN, so wala na sa aming nagko-cover',” she said during a Facebook livestream.

(It was very hard to send pictures except for those who already got out. We found it hard to communicate when we were there. Telling us that 'Because there's no more ABS-CBN, so there's nobody covering our situation here' was very common.)

Malacañang last year said the network's exit from free television did not cause any "vacuum" on information dissemination during disasters, contrary to comments from the public and former officials. 

On Monday, one Twitter user said, "Sobrang feel ko ang kawalan ng ABS-CBN Regional lalo na ngayong wala masyadong coverage sa nangyayari sa Cebu dahil sa bagyong Odette. Noon, ang bilis magpalipad ng chopper nila para sa aerial inspection, breaking news at kung minsan special coverage pa. Please help CEBU!"

(I could feel the impact of the shutdown of the ABS-CBN Regional, especially now that there is not much coverage on the current situation in Cebu due to Typhoon Odette. In the past, they are very quick in sending out a chopper for aerial inspection, breaking news and sometimes, even in launching a special coverage.)

news.abs-cbn.com is the official news website of ABS-CBN Corp. 

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