ABS-CBN: dead in the water

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the expired franchise of ABS-CBN might stand a chance of being granted because of the new leadership in the House of Representatives. Is this a hint that there are things hidden from the public view in the agenda of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco? Sotto has a reputation of spilling out matters that are being kept from the people. But I hope it’s not the case.

The only way ABS-CBN can get a new franchise — it’s going to be a “new” franchise because the one granted under RA 7966 had expired last March — is for the broadcasting giant to present a clean bill of health on the many issues extracted during the marathon public hearings last year. And there are many. Without the company fixing the legal infirmities and paying overdue taxes as well as those it had dodged, there is just no way the House of Representatives can turn about-face on the issue.

I don’t think Speaker Velasco would risk losing the position that had caused a bitter fight with his predecessor, Alan Peter Cayetano, last October. There are rumblings in the House that could easily escalate into an ouster movement against him. He is there only because President Rodrigo Roa Duterte intervened. Cayetano was ready for a siege; he relented when the President spoke to them both.

The public simply won’t accept a sudden change of heart on the ABS-CBN franchise application. And warning must be served upon those politicians who are tinkering with the idea about joining the bandwagon. The money they can expect from their support to the ABS-CBN cause will be overshadowed by the political fallout from an angry public.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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