Speaker Alan Cayetano is refusing to take the blame for the shutdown of ABS-CBN Corp.’s free TV and radio channels on May 5 just because he sat on its franchise renewal since he took control of the House in 2019.
Cayetano said the Lopez-led management itself decided to take ABS-CBN off the air just hours after getting a cease-and-desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission a day after its franchise expired on May 4.
“Some of your reporters repeatedly say, ‘di ba, ‘Sabi mo (Cayetano) ikaw mismo ang mag-o-on ng transmitter kung sapilitang isasara ang istasyon?’ Ang sagot ko dyan, ‘Eh di ba kayo naman ang kusang nag-patay?’ Alangan namang pilit ko kayong ipaglalaban, na kayo mismo ay sumurender na,” said Cayetano in a sponsorship speech of a bill granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until October 2020.
“Pero sige, para huwag na natin pagtalunan, ako na mismo ang magso-sponsor ng batas na mabibigyan kayo ng pagkakataong mabuhay ulit upang harapin ang hearing na ito,” he added.
Former Information Technology Secretary Rudolo Salalima claimed that ABS-CBN should have continued on air because NTC’s CDO was illegal as it was issued without giving the media giant due process to air its side.
Cayetano said ABS-CBN should not expect a smooth ride to getting its fanchise renewal because it was the lawmakers’ duty to make sure that it addressed all of the issues raised against it by the Office of the Solicitor General such as its alleged breach of foreign ownership ban in media and abuses in its franchise.
“There is no question that you have been part of nation-building. But as you said yourself, you are not perfect. I agree. No one is. And that is why we need these hearings,” said Cayetano.
“I echo the words of the President when he tells you to just Do your job. Call out injustice and corruption whenever you see it. Protect the weak from the powerful, and give voice to the voiceless. This is your mandate – to speak truth freely and fearlessly to power. But beware that you do not become the power that you hope to check,” he added.