ABS-CBN franchise bid denial not 'death penalty' but 'life imprisonment' —Defensor


As far as Anakalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor is concerned, ABS-CBN Corporation was not given a "death penalty" when its franchise application was denied, but only "life imprisonment" that allows the network to be reformed.

In an interview on ANC on Tuesday, Defensor reiterated that he and his fellow lawmakers at the House of Representatives were only performing their duty to look into franchise applications when they dealt with the network's franchise issue.

Following 12 lengthy hearings, the House franchise committee, however, voted to adopt the resolution of the technical working group (TWG) it created recommending the denial of ABS-CBN's franchise application

"This was not a death penalty, this is life imprisonment. ABS-CBN lives, the corporation lives," Defensor said of the House panel decision.

"But as to the franchise, there were violations that have been established. It's very clear. We haven't written it, 40 pages of what we saw," he added.

Based on the TWG report, ABS-CBN violated its old franchise, described by the panel as a privilege, because of the following reasons: its former Chairman Eugenio Lopez III was both a Filipino and American citizen, the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts supposedly favoring foreigners, inappropriate program content, meddling in politics, tax avoidance schemes, less than exemplary labor practices, among others.

Defensor said he does not know any lawyer who would contest the violations of ABS-CBN established in the TWG report.


He added that he himself feels "very strongly" about the issues on PDRs, tax evasion, and labor issues.

But given that this was a "life imprisonment," Defensor said there is a time for ABS-CBN to reform.

"I hope, yes, maybe ABS-CBN, outside of mass media, can reform itself. Maybe it will not be ABS-CBN who would be applying, but I would like to see the people who composed ABS-CBN to be back in broadcast media because you are a very good station, and you have very good people," he said.

ABS-CBN went off air on May 5 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against the network following the expiry of the company's franchise the day before. 

Following the denial of the network's franchise application, measures have been taken to grant the network a fresh franchise through people's initiative. —KG, GMA News