ABS-CBN shutdown will strengthen Philippine institutions and compel Filipinos to follow the law

The shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN should not have come as a surprise but, to many of the broadcast network’s employees and supporters, it was shocking and outrageous. They are acting like they didn’t know the network’s franchise to broadcast using public radio frequency was about to expire. Even the company’s executives themselves seemed baffled after they were compelled to sign off for the last time on the 5th of May 2020. This can only mean they were all in denial up to the very end. They were in denial that the current government would oblige them to follow the law. It’s something a very powerful and influential company is not used to, apparently.

CEO Carlo Katigbak appealed to the public and asked for help to express their objection to the cease-and-desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) on the operation of the television and radio of the media network. He was basically appealing to emotion, which is kind of pathetic for an executive. It shows that he wasn’t savvy enough to keep the company operating and is resorting to trickery to get his way. It’s not going to work the second time considering the same tactic – tricking Congress the first time into approving a dodgy renewal application fell through.

Contrary to what most people supportive of the company are saying, ABS-CBN’s troubles did not start when President Rodrigo Duterte came to power. While Duterte is vocal about his beef with the owners of the network, their legal problems started way back in 2014 during former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s term. ABS-CBN’s application for franchise renewal then was stalled because, according to Estrellita Juliano-Tamano, president of the Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP), a direct competitor of ABS-CBN’s “black box” satellite operation, “ABS-CBN’s franchise application in 2014 was allegedly no longer faithful to the original franchise agreement”.

The FICTAP had opposed the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise in 2014 as it was allegedly no longer faithful to the original franchise agreement, with six more channels added to the permit. These, Tamano said, should have operated under different franchises.

She also accused ABS-CBN of charging P2,500 pay-per-view for the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight on 2 May 2015 in alleged violation of an NTC cease and desist order.

It also charged P30 for Kapamilya Box Office (KBO) programs when Tamano said the franchise is supposed to operate “free to air.”

Whether what she is saying is valid or not doesn’t really matter for now. ABS-CBN executives and supporters can tell everybody they are all false allegations but their sentiments can be dismissed as biased and, more importantly, only the court can decide what is true or not. Evidently, Congress did not tackle the renewal again after 2014. That’s an issue a lot of people cannot understand so they simply blame Duterte for the shutdown.

What is false is the claim by ABS-CBN executives and supporters that the cease-and-desist order “violates the right of the public to information and is a curtailment of the freedom speech and of the press.” The fact that they can still hold press conferences, express their views and operate other media platforms they own such as their digital streaming channels contradicts their claim. Besides, ABS-CBN is not the only source of news and information. There are dozens of media outlets out there still operating that the public can rely on to deliver much needed information.

What is true is that the ABS-CBN shutdown has a lot to do with the company’s greed. They wanted everything in one application.

The timing of ABS-CBN’s shutdown could not be helped. The government, even while the country is in the middle of a crisis due to the COVID19 pandemic, cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that a company doesn’t have a license to operate. Even former Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio said that the NTC cannot issue a provisional authority to operate because there is no basis when there is no franchise.

This is actually fair for all the little people and small companies that have lost their livelihoods or those that have had to close their businesses because they didn’t have the right permit to operate. This proves that even big companies have to follow the rules. This is a win for everybody. It will set a precedent for everyone to comply with the law.

The only people now who still have a problem with following the law are the members of the Opposition. They refuse to understand the real reason why ABS-CBN was shut down. Their minds can only grasp one single theory – that it is Duterte’s fault. No wonder they keep failing their advocacy. Even some lawyers who are expected to understand law are trying to justify giving ABS-CBN a pass just because they are allied with the Opposition.

For a country with so many lawyers, it is quite ironic that some Filipinos, particularly lawmakers, still find it hard to follow the law. It seems a lot of lawyers are the ones arguing among themselves over how to interpret the law. This is not a good sign. It means they just want to work around the law or even defy it.

Celebrities under ABS-CBN’s payroll insist that the network’s operation is vital to the well-being of the people. It’s quite the opposite. The media giant has been playing kingmaker for decades and has lulled people into believing Cory, Ninoy, and Noynoy Aquino are heroes. The people were entranced and thought they were in good hands. ABS-CBN also produce a lot of garbage shows that set the country backward. They set Filipinos to an “entertained” mode when what the people really need was a wakeup call. The Philippines cannot progress when the majority are always preoccupied with lame TV shows. It can only be good that ABS-CBN can no longer mislead the public with their biased news and dishonest reporting. They can no longer air the “life and times” of their favourite candidates before elections.

The timing of ABS-CBN shutdown is perfect because its employees and supporters cannot go out and protest. If they do, they risk arrest for violating the quarantine or getting infected with the coronavirus. The odds are all against them. Hopefully, by the time the quarantine is lifted, the public will have forgotten about them and moved on. Their celebrity supporters should accept the fact that Duterte is more popular than they are.

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14 Comments on “ABS-CBN shutdown will strengthen Philippine institutions and compel Filipinos to follow the law”

  1. The shutdown of the ABS CBN was a great surprise to the management of the TV network…This TV Network is a “sacred cow” of Cory Aquino, and the Aquino Cojuangco political axis. It was the source of their disinformation and misinformation, to promote their heroism and sainthood, and their political agendas. Like the propaganda machine of Nazi Fuhrer Adolp Hitler. They dumbed down, ordinary Filipinos, like the rest of us, to believe , what they want us to believe.

    So, the management of the ABS CBN was used to be above any law of the land. Since, they are fully protected by the politically powerful. It is unfortunate, they tangled with Digong Duterte, a no nonsense dude. Now, they are whacked on their butts, and are very surprised by it.

    Sometimes, bringing people to reality is the best way to teach them a lesson !

  2. Ms IIda, but Duterte is not the most popular. Only in the Philippines. America and its institutions as well as Trump are still the biggest on earth so no matter ABS-CBN or any other channel closes, we Filipino citizens will still be able to watch American channels and news which have alot more intellect. Just think of NAT-GEO, Discovery, Animal Planet, Fox News, etc. I think they will give us real shit education. Good education. Basically, everything from America is the best. Americans are the true law abiders too. Finally, I will not salute to Duterte and to the Philippine flag as well as side with Abs-cbn anytime soon. I bow to Trump for now and my ethnicity as a self- identified Latino.

  3. The 3000 undesirables executed by the pnp in the so called “drug war” 2016-17 did not get the benefit of law from your favorite president

      1. The simple point is you cant apply the rule of law to abs cbn but ignore it with “drug suspects”

        1. So, dont apply the rule of law at all in any case then?

          With regards to drug suspects, i do agree with you that they should do it properly/by the book/legally. The police need a strong internal affairs division here to police their personnel.

          But that is another matter that should be addressed.

          But, be that as it may, does that mean we throw the rule of law out the window then and not obey?

          It doesn’t hold up.

          I do think the government needs to get its act together.

          Abscbn was given a CDO because the franchise expired because there was no movement in congress. No need to blame ntc and the president.

          The question lies with congress. Why did they sit on it since 2014 even under an aquino admin? What was the issue? Was there an underlying issue?

          If not, should there be laws agaonst this so that these legislators dont get away with sitting on pending bills then? Where they should approve or decline them within 3 to 6 months from the date of submission? Just as permit application are required immediate action from LGUs. This is national, so give timetable of months instead of days then.

          Whats the next step so that it doesnt happen again?

          Cite the NTC chairman in contempt for his failure to inform congress of his incorrect testimony. But dont fault the ntc as a body for recognizing that the franchise had expired.

          Is the ntc obsolete? Another point of discussion given that DITC does exist now. Trim the redundant bodies. Government is filled with redundancies from yesteryears.

  4. looks like abs cbn really wants to give up the network. but why? did they too rob its shareholders shares?

  5. Everyone who is not a SHEEP-Ilda knows that this is just a ploy to get the Lopez to sell ABS-CBN for cheap to Dennis Uy who is a puppet of CHINA.

    Similar to benign0 the TURD who lives in Australia yet is paid by his commie masters
    Martial Law for THEE but not for ME! Right benign0?!?!

    1. You REALLY want yourself to get banned, right?

      It’s the right choice TBH. Because you offered nothing but hurling labels and insults. And that, son, is stupid.

    2. Says the jackass who keeps on insisting that “it’s noble to speak out against bad ideas” when the truth is that he had ZERO ideas and all he does is to insult the authors and even threatening them.

      And what is benign0’s response? “Make me.”

      That means you’re nothing. Zero. Nada. Nilch.

      Grow up, manchild.

  6. The NTC officials are incompetent and should be blame for all this mess aside from Congress. They announced on public they will give probationary authority to ABS-CBN unless stopped by the court and yet they did not live up to their announcement. They shut down ABS without notice and hearing, which is a clear violation of the basic constitutional right to due process of law in favor of ABS.

    NTC is the first violator of the law. In the past, they gave probationary authority to other networks despite their franchises already expired while waiting for the approval of their franchise bills pending in Congress. But now not to ABS with a lame excuse that “only ABS’ case that someone is complaining”! Foolish heads! If the law says to stop operation after the expiration of franchise it must be done and applied uniformly and equally to all networks not only to ABS, if NTC officials are going to follow the rule of law. They will be slapped with a big damage suit one of these days for their childish act.

    Ilda, you don’t like ABS because as you said it diverts Filipinos’ attention into an “entertained” mode instead of reality but you are a big fan of english tv series and are also entertained and preoccupied by them which have explicit immoral and unrealistic stories. You are NUMB by your HYPOCRICY. You have no right to judge others because you are a ONE BIG HYPOCRITE. Put this into your thick head : ABS-CBN is a private business enterprise and will operate according to what they think can profit them best and have the right to do so under the current law. It is not for a charity or educational channel. If you don’t like their shows, no one is forcing you. No one is forcing to watch ABS. Either you take it or leave it and get lost.

    ABS has a good substance in its case to get a TRO from the Supreme Court. It is only a matter of time to see its shows again.

    1. Says the actual ONE BIG HYPOCRITE who thinks that feelings are more important than facts. That’s a sign of being EMO, son.

      I’ll just watch here and observe what happens next. BTW, you should follow your own advice.

    2. ABS has a good substance in its case to get a TRO from the Supreme Court. It is only a matter of time to see its shows again.

      Yes, and?

      Unless they change their broadcasting ways, that wouldn’t happen. For now.

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