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Cong. Rodante Marcoleta delays ABS-CBN franchise hearing with previously resolved issues

During the ABS-CBN franchise hearing, Marcoleta gave redundant arguments thus was seen as irrelevant

The bills for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN are finally being tackled in Congress and parties for and against the franchise presented their arguments.

House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta claimed that ABS-CBN is not compliant with the terms and laws of its franchise.

During his statement, he showed slides with video clips attached in support of his arguments, which enraged many since they found it irrelevant.

His opening statement showed Kim Chiu’s “bawal lumabas” viral video, where he argued that since ABS-CBN is not compliant with their franchise therefore they should not be allowed to air.

“Hindi po nag-comply sa batas ang ABS-CBN, kaya hindi po sila pwedeng lumabas at magpalabas.”
This got on the nerves of the citizens since they believe that Marcoleta took the video out of context.

He also pointed out that ABS-CBN violated the constitution’s mandate of a 50-year period franchise operation. As he stated, “[The] ABS-CBN has been using the airwaves for more than 50 years, 53 years today to be exact. Our Constitution says that Congress can grant a franchise of up to 50 years only,”.

But many see this as an inconsistent argument for many other tv networks already exceeded the 50 year period, yet their franchise was renewed.

Also, Marcoleta showed incorrect information in his videos and he repeatedly brought up issues that had already been resolved.

He raised questions about the network’s Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDR), which he claimed allowed foreign holders ownership and voting rights. This was already clarified by ABS-CBN stating that PDRs were evaluated and approved by the Securities anf Exchange Commission and the Philippine Stock Exchange prior to the public offering. Also, they stated that the holders of the PDRs are not owners and had no voting rights.

Marcoleta also argued about ABS-CBN’s unfair labor practices with their 11,000 employees of which 8,500 are contractual workers and talents.

He said, “ABS-CBN has not regularized its contractual workers and talents despite performing the functions of regular workers… Hindi po maikakaila sa publiko na napakarami ng labor cases na hinarap at haharapin pa ng ABS-CBN. Ang masaklap pa dito, ni hindi nagbibigay and ABS-CBN ng contribution sa benefits.”

But Mark Nepomuceno, former head of ABS-CBN Corporate Services Group., already stated that ABS-CBN received its clearance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) affirming that it is compliant with the general labor standards, occupational safety and health, and security of tenure which was raised during the senate committee investigation.

He also, reiterated the tax avoidance scheme of the network with BIR, where accordingly they used their owned subsidiaries as a tax shield.

“ABS-CBN also violated the terms and conditions of its franchise by engaging in tax avoidance schemes which deprived the government of the much-needed revenue.”

”Because of this unconscionable tax avoidance scheme, ABS-CBN’s alleged effective tax rate in 2018 was at -5 percent. This means that ABS-CBN managed to avoid paying taxes in 2018.” 

But as far as BIR Audit Head Simplicio Cabantac Jr. is concerned ABS-CBN has been regularly filing and paying its taxes for the past years.

Another violation that was cited was ABS-CBN’s pay-per-view service KBO channel using TV Plus. But Philippine Cable and Telecommunication Association President Ronald Manlapig explained that one frequency can have many channels and it is dependent on the broadcast quality whether it has a standard or high definition, thus there is no issue in having multiple channels in one franchise. 

Marcoleta also accused the network to be politically biased as it failed to air President Rodrigo Duterte’s advertisements during the 2016 campaign which is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

He said, “It is also a matter of record that ABS-CBN failed to air some of President Duterte’s political advertisements during the 2016 campaign period despite receiving the payment of these political ads.

“Hindi naman lingid sa kaalaman ng marami, kung hindi man lahat, kung paano naging pro-Noynoy Aquino ang ABS-CBN nung 2010 at pro-Grace Poe at pro-Leni Robredo naman nung 2016,” he claimed.

At the end of his argument, he showed a clip from ‘It’s Showtime’ host Vice Ganda, where the host challenged Quiboloy ‘the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ’, to end one of ABS-CBN’s long-running tv series ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ also adding a clip of Quiboloy’s response where he stated to ending not only the TV series but also the network.

Rodante Marcoleta is a SAGIP  (Social Amelioration & Genuine Intervention on Poverty) Representative and a member of PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan). As a representative of SAGIP, he directly fights for the poor by generally reducing poverty.

Marcoleta is also the man behind the Commission on Human Rights P1,000 2018 budget, as he claimed that CHR sided more with United Nations which resulted in more criticisms on Duterte’s war on drugs.

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