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Mel Velarde reacts to BILYONARYO article on ABS-CBN frequencies

The lawyer of bilyonaryo Mel Velarde has requested BILYONARYO to publish his statement in its entirety regarding the article published on August 9 2020 concerning ABS-CBN Corporation.

This is the statement of Velarde as requested by lawyer Aldritch Fitz U. Dy of MOSVELDTT Law Offices:

NOW Corporation and NOW Group have not applied at NTC to secure ABS-CBN Channel 2 and AMCARA Broadcasting Network Channel 23.

RELATD STORY: Bukas luluhod ang mga tala: Ex-Sky Cable GM Mel Velarde licking chops over ABS-CBN TV, radio frequencies; but is he buying or flipping?

However, NOW’s broadcasting affiliates have applied for radio frequencies and have ongoing applications for Direct Terrestrial Television Broadcast (DTTB), for which quasi-judicial hearings started since 2017.

The NOW Group is very interested in TV and radio broadcasting because of its wide-spread coverage for news delivery, public information, and distance learning. In line with the need for information and education nationwide, what Mr. Velarde is also proposing, together with the Board of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (“AIJC”) of which Mr. Velarde is Chairman, is a Philippine Public Broadcasting Station (PPBS).

RELATED STORY: Baka daw mapunta pa sa maduming kamay! NOW’s Mel Velarde keen on going to TV, radio; urges NTC to give away ABS-CBN’s frequencies ASAP

The PPBS will not be owned by the government nor by the private sector with commercial interests. The public will own it with built-in guarantees that represent all sectors of Philippine society. According to UNESCO, a PPBS would help strengthen democratic institutions, especially in a young developing country such as the Philippines. An electronic copy of the proposed bill is published via AIJC’s website. Please visit URL: https://aijc.com.ph/psb-bill/.

The articles are accurate for the following: Mr. Velarde reorganized ABS-CBN News and Public Affairs as News Director, (when he was aged 23 in 1987), and founded Sky Cable, (both as a working executive and minority investor in Sky when he was 27 in 1990).

Mr. Velarde, however, is not interested in interfering in ABS-CBN affairs. Mr. Velarde is content with the fact that he led the team that revolutionized Philippine television from a six free-to-air TV channel industry into almost a hundred-channel multi-platform industry and still growing.

Mr. Velarde has no score to settle with ABS-CBN’s Chairman Emeritus, Mr. Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III as the Supreme Court already sided in Mr. Velarde’s favor in his legal battle with the media conglomerate that started in 1998.

Mr. Velarde has won all the cases in the Supreme Court, including the false claim of Lopez. Inc. that Mr. Velarde received a loan, not a bonus.

Lopez Inc. admitted in open court that it inserted the word “loan,” among others, through “a note posted by a scotch tape” on the blank voucher Mr. Velarde signed when he received the bonus given by Mr. Eugenio “Geny” Lopez., Jr., Gabby’s father. In addition, the Lopezes and Sky Cable were prompt enough to comply with the orders of the Court, including payment of Mr.Velarde’s unpaid retirement benefits, unpaid salaries, and moral damages. Hence, Mr. Velarde’s relationship with the Lopezes has recently become cordial.

Mr. Velarde retired from the Lopez Group end of 1997 as an executive and minority shareholder of both ABS-CBN and SKY Cable. Part of the court records was a letter addressed to Mr. Velarde from Mr. Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, Jr., Gabby’s father. It states, “During your entire ten years or so with the Company, you have never gotten involved in any actuations that could have tainted your integrity…”

Contrary to what the article mentioned, Mr. Velarde and Mr. Lopez Jr. honor each other’s name and integrity. Despite enduring 20 years of harassment and litigation, Mr. Velarde believes he has reconciled with Mr. Gabby Lopez. Mr. Velarde felt the cordial and warm reception during the wake of Gabby’s sister, Former Secretary of DENR Ms. Regina Paz “Gina” La’O Lopez last year at the ABS-CBN compound.

The NOW Group is interested mostly in radio and DTTB operations, which have a more significant impact on news, public affairs, and distance learning. Mr. Velarde believes applying for TV and radio licenses is an obligation mandated in broadcasting franchises granted by Congress, to operate.

Mr. Velarde encourages as many applications for TV and Radio licenses to fill the void that exists due to the demise of ABS-CBN TV and Radio signals in the air. “The sooner this is done, and the most qualified among the applicants, with a verifiable and excellent track record, can operate the said frequencies, the better for the country,” says Mr. Velarde. “If these frequencies fall into the wrong hands, then the intent of Congress, which represents the people, shall be compromised.”

Lastly, Mr. Velarde is not a godfather to any of the children of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and her husband, Atty. Manases “Mans” R. Carpio.

Although Mr. Velarde supported the candidacy of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2016 election, Mr. Velarde does not rely on the government to achieve his interests, nor does the present administration favor the Velarde companies.

In 2019, NOW Telecom sued the National Telecommunications Communications (NTC) on legal grounds. Mr. Velarde is honored to have acquired the Murillo Velarde 1734 map which helped the Philippine government win its case at UNCLOS.

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