After a dozen hearings, the House today has voted to deny ABS-CBN its franchise renewal. Among the chief reasons for the rejection were the multitude of accusations against the Lopez family, who owns the media conglomerate, of violating the legal duties of broadcasting firms to influence free elections by favoring candidates.
In his closing arguments before the committee, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano cited the specific issues that the Lopez family committed against the Filipino people through ABS-CBN.
He further clarified that the issue of ABS-CBN is not an attack on Press Freedom, but rather a reckoning for a company and family that has long abused its powers.
“We all agree that Freedom of the Press must be protected. But, as these hearings have shown, we disagree from whom and how.
We will all agree on the basic premise that big business, conjoined with commercial media should not be allowed to engage in partisan politics by wielding its power to protect their interest, meddle and interfere in elections, and surreptitiously support certain candidates in the guise of reporting the news.” Speaker Cayetano said.
The arguments put forth by Speaker Cayetano were echoed by other Representatives who also expressed frustration with ABS-CBN’s alleged manipulation and violations of their franchise agreement.
Upon the conclusion of the hearings, the committee voting 70 to 11, denied the media giant a 25 year franchise.