Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on ABS-CBN shutdown: “We were all ambushed by NTC.”

by Bernie V. Franco
May 8, 2020
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano: “As for the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress, I promise you—there will be a reckoning.”
PHOTO/S: Jerome Ascano / RTV Malacanang

“May araw rin kayo.”

Ito ang mensahe ni House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano sa National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) at kay Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Kaugnay ito ng hindi natupad na pangakong pagbibigay ng provisional franchise sa ABS-CBN na nagresulta sa shutdown nito noong Martes, May 5.

Nang lumabas ang Cease and Desist Order ng NTC laban sa Kapamilya network, marami ang naghintay sa pahayag ni Cayetano.

Tatlong araw matapos ang pagsasara ng ABS-CBN, binasag ng kongresista ng Taguig City ang kanyang pananahimik sa pamamagitan ng isang mahabang Facebook post ngayong Biyernes ng umaga, May 8.

Ayon sa House Speaker, pinanghawakan ng Kongreso ang pangako ng NTC na bibigyan nila ng temporary franchise ang ABS-CBN habang pending pa ang renewal ng legislative franchise nito sa Kongreso.

Diretsahan ding kinastigo ni Cayetano si SolGen Calida sa pampi-pressure nito sa NTC.

Si Calida ng Office of the Solicitor General ang tumatayong abugado ng administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte.

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Si Calida rin ang personal na nagsumite sa Supreme Court ng quo warranto petition noong Pebrero para ipatigil ang operasyon ng ABS-CBN dahil sa umano'y illegal operations ng network.

Hindi rin lingid sa kaalaman ng publiko na ilang beses isinapubliko ni Pangulong Duterte ang intensiyon niyang ipaharang ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN.

abs-cbn building

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CAYETANO: “WE WERE AMBUSHED BY NTC.”

Kinontra rin ni Cayetano ang pahayag ni Calida na ang Kongreso ang dapat sisihin sa hindi pagkaka-renew ng prangkisa ng ABS-CBN.

Ito ay sa kabila ng 11 proposed bills na nakatengga sa Kongreso para sa renewal ng franchise ng network, mula pa noong 2014.

Paliwanag ni Cayetano, kaya hindi pa naaaprubahan ang franchise renewal ng ABS-CBN ay dahil mas binigyan ng prayoridad ng Kamara ang mas mahahalagang panukalang batas.

Nagsimula ang regular session ng Kongreso noong January 20, 2020.

Pero noon pa man, wala sa kalendaryo ng Kamara ang pagtalakay sa isyu ng franchise ng ABS-CBN.

Inisa-isa ng Cayetano ang prinayoridad ng Kamara: “…the swift passage of the 2020 budget, the Malasakit Center Act, and the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, the eruption of Taal Volcano in January necessitated adjustments in the Congressional calendar.”

Dumagdag pa raw rito nang magsimulang maramdaman ang nagbabadyang panganib ng COVID-19 noong Pebrero.

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Ito raw ang dahilan kaya nakipag-ugnayan ang Kamara sa iba pang malalaking sangay ng gobyerno hinggil sa isyu ng ABS-CBN.

Pahayag ni Cayetano, “It is in this context that the leadership of the House tried to gain a consensus with the Executive Department, through the DOJ and the NTC, to allow us time to properly address the ABS-CBN issue in the midst of all the other more important problems facing the country.”

Pinanghawakan din daw nila ang binitawang pangako ni NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.

Tiniyak ni Commissioner Cordoba sa isang Committee hearing noong Marso na pagkakalooban nila ng temporary license ang ABS-CBN.

“Last March, members Congress and the whole nation listened to the head of the National Telecommunications Commission give his word that they would issue a Provisional Authority that would allow the network to continue broadcasting until we are able to reach a final decision.”

Kaya naman tiwala raw ang Kongreso na gagawan ng NTC ng aksiyon ang prangkisa ng ABS-CBN, at inuna ang nagbabadya pa lang noong health crisis.

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Isa raw rito ang pag-apruba ng Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, o Republic Act No. 11469, na nagbibigay ng karagdagang kapangyarihan sa Pangulo sa panahon ng COVID-19 crisis.

Ayon kay Cayetano, kagaya ng karamihan ay ikinagulat daw niya nang maglabas ng Cease And Desist order ang NTC para ipasara ang ABS-CBN nitong Martes.

“Last Tuesday we were all ambushed by the NTC.

“Despite their assurance given under oath.

“Despite the legal opinion of the Department of Justice.

“Despite a resolution from the Senate, and several verbal and written assurances given to Congress - the NTC appears to have succumbed to pressure from the Solicitor General, and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN.”

abs-cbn news building

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SENATE RESOLUTION

Noong March 11, 2020, nagkaroon pa ng maiksing seremonya ang handover ng Senate resolution kay NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgar Cabarios.

Ito ay para sa rekomendasyon ng Senado ng pagbibigay ng provisional authority sa ABS-CBN habang pending pa ang renewal franchise bills ng network sa Congress.

Diin pa ni Cayetano, bagamat hindi pinangatawanan ng NTC ang pangako nito, ang Kongreso ang may Constitutional authority hinggil sa franchise ng ABS-CBN.

“[I]t does not change the fact that the exclusive Constitutional authority to grant, deny, extend, revoke, or modify broadcast franchises; Including having the primary jurisdiction to make an initial determination whether an application for a legislative franchise should be granted or denied – still resides in Congress, and Congress alone.”

Sinabi rin ni Cayetano kung ano ang susunod na mangyayari.

“So for those asking what Congress will do— the answer is simple—our job.

“The Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings in a manner that is consistent with what we have always said. That is—fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive.”

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Sa sumunod niyang mensahe, nagpatama na si Cayetano sa mga kritiko niya at sa Kongreso.

“We would have wanted to do this in an orderly manner. But what we want and what we have to deal with are two different things.

“So this Congress has no choice but to once again rise to the occasion and fix the mess others make.

“To our critics, in and outside of the House, you are free to say what you will. As we are free to respond in our own way.”

Ganito tinapos ni Cayetano ang kanyang mensahe: “As for the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress, I promise you—there will be a reckoning.”

Inaantabayanan naman ngayon kung kailan tatalakayin ng Kongreso ang franchise renewal ng ABS-CBN.

AN AXE TO GRIND?

Hindi kaila sa publiko na may personal ding isyu si Cayetano sa ABS-CBN.

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Inakusahan ni Cayetano, na tumakbo ngunit natalo noong 2016 vice presidential elections, ang ABS-CBN ng pagbibigay ng mas mahabang airtime sa ibang mga kandidato noong campaign period.

Ang ka-tandem noon ni Cayetano ay si Rodrigo Duterte, na nanalo bilang presidente.

Si Cayetano ay pumangatlo lamang sa nanalong si Leni Robredo at sa pumangalawang si Bongbong Marcos.

Noong Pebrero 2020, sa kasagsagan ng isyu ng franchise renewal ng ABS-CBN, sinabi ni Cayetano na hindi kailangan itong madaliin, kasabay ng pag-akusa na hindi patas ang coverage ng network noong 2010 at 2016 elections.

Bahagi ng pahayag ni Cayetano sa kanyang Facebook post noong February 17:

"Can anyone honestly say, after watching the coverage of the network during the 2010 and 2016 elections, that ABS-CBN did not take sides and favor any candidate?

"Or that personalities and politicians, who through the years have had strong affinity with the station, do not receive undue advantage during campaign season?”

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Dagdag pa niya, “Let me just say that this practice is prohibited by law under the Fair Elections Act. To which the network must, and will be given a chance to respond.”

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano: “As for the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress, I promise you—there will be a reckoning.”
PHOTO/S: Jerome Ascano / RTV Malacanang
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