Lawmakers seek probe into ABS-CBN, TV5

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 17) —  A total of three House Resolutions were filed seeking an investigation into ABS-CBN and TV5.

One of the resolutions alleged that TV5 is foreign-owned.

House Resolution No. 280 — authored by Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Wilter Palma — wants the Committee on Legislative Franchises to look into the matter.

"There were published reports alleging that ABC Development Corporation, presently known as TV5 Network, Inc., the country's third major player in the television market, and part of a cross-media conglomerate owned by Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan's MediaQuest Holdings Inc. under PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund, is actually owned by an Indonesian national," the resolution read.

"If this allegation that TV5 Network Inc. is owned by an Indonesian national is true, then there is a clear violation of the 1987 Constitution, and on terms and conditions of the franchise granted to TV5 Network Inc., which must be thoroughly looked into in the interest of the public," it added.

This echoed earlier allegations made by SAGIP Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta that TV5 is owned by an Indonesian national.

READ: Marcoleta claims TV5 violated its broadcasting franchise with ABS-CBN deal

Block time agreement

Quezon province 2nd District Rep. David Suarez and TGP Party-list Rep. Jose Teves, meanwhile, filed House Resolutions No. 281 and 282, respectively. Both resolutions sought a probe into the two network's block time agreement — with Teves focusing on ABS-CBN's national news program TV Patrol.

"Given the possible violations committed by these networks, there is a need to determine whether their legislative franchises are being implemented and carried out in accordance with the intent of Congress and whether or not they should be amended, altered, or repealed by Congress in the interest of the public," Teves' resolution said.

Briefing set, then removed from House calendar

Before media was informed about the new resolutions, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises already set a briefing to tackle the matter at 2 p.m. this Thursday. On Wednesday evening, it was removed from the schedule. Only the committee's organizational meeting remains in the agenda.

All the three resolutions filed on Wednesday were referred to the Committee on Rules.

The legislative franchises panel is currently led by Parañaque Rep. Gustavo Tambunting, the husband of former congresswoman Joy Myra Tambunting, who was once an ABS-CBN producer.

The briefing was supposed to be held just a few days after Marcoleta aired his tirades against TV5.

RELATED: ABS-CBN personalities-turned-lawmakers rally behind network's franchise renewal 

During the 17th Congress, Marcoleta was one of the 70 congressmen who voted "yes" to reject the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which eventually rendered around 11,000 employees jobless at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte admitted in June that he used "presidential powers" against ABS-CBN. He also reiterated that the company "never paid taxes" — a claim debunked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

ABS-CBN went off the air in May 2020 after a cease-and-desist order was issued by the National Telecommunications Commission following the lapse of its franchise. It eventually resorted to renting airtime with TV5 and A2Z Channel 11, and boosting its presence on several digital platforms.