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Go urges Congress to decide on ABS-CBN franchise with dispatch

By Mario Casayuran 
Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has urged his fellow lawmakers to immediately decide whether to renew or deny the 25-year ABS-CBN’s franchise that ends in early May.

He said he is concerned about the motives behind the passing of a joint resolution seeking to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise until the end of 2022, or six months after the end of the six-year term of President Duterte.

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go
(Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

Joint Resolution No.11 aims to extend the network giant’s franchise until December 31, 2022, amid uncertainties on the fate of the network.

Go, former special assistant to President Duterte, raised concerns regarding the joint resolution filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon during an ambush interview after the Senate public hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal conducted by the Senate public services committee chaired by Senator Grace Poe.

“Dalawang tanong lang. Bakit i-e-extend? Why December 2022? It has something to do with politics again,” Go said, adding that the President’s term would have expired by that time. ((Two years only. Why extend it?)

Instead of extending the franchise of the network through a joint resolution, Go said that the House of Representatives should just vote to approve or deny the pending bills in Congress.

“By that time, tapos na ang termino ni Pangulo. Parang sinasabi n’yo na ayaw n’ya aprubahan kaya i-extend na lang. Pag-usapan na natin ngayon, ngayon na,” he added. (By that time, the term of President Duterte has ended. You may think that the President won’t approve that is why the franchise should be extended until end of 2022.)

“‘Di pa maipasa, napapaso na nga kaya sabi ko kung nagawa ng Senado mapag-usapan, bakit ‘di n’yo magawa sa Kongreso. Hintayin pa ba natin na mapaso? Sabi ko ‘di na nga sana kailangan ng joint reso extending up to 2022. Either ipasa natin or hindi,” he said. (We either pass it or not.)

As for the provisional authority being pushed to allow ABS-CBN to operate beyond the expiry date of its franchise, Go said. “D’yan tayo pupunta. Ayoko nga may mawalan ng trabaho. Ayokong maputol ‘yun dahil sa kakulangan ng panahon. Kawawa ang mga trabahante.” (That is where we are headed. I don’t want people to be out of work. I don’t want that to happen because we lacked time. Pity the workers.)

Asked for President Duterte’s possible reaction to the discussions in the Senate hearing, Go said, “I can’t answer that. Only the President can, kung sakaling maghilom ang sugat.” (if the wound heals.)

Go had narrated the hurt then presidential candidate Davao city Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte felt when his paid political ad placed with ABS CBN was not aired but the network put out black propaganda against him.

“Hindi naman po namin masyadong pinag-uusapan pero ngayon napaintindi ko sa mga Pilipino kung ano ang nararamdaman, ano ang sakit, ngayon alam na ng mga Pilipino ang isa sa mga dahilan, ‘yung sugat na iniwan,” he added. (We did not talk much about it but now Filipinos will understand how the President felt. That is the reason for the pain caused by ABS-CBN.)

Referring to the black propaganda aired against the President during the campaign period in 2016, Go mentioned, “Nakita n’yo naman kanina ano ang inilabas at naging priority noong nakaraang halalan noong 2016. Nakita n’yo naman ang sulat after a year. Ano ang gagawin mo sa pera, importante ‘yun during the very crucial times ng period ng election, make or break ito kapag isa kang kandidato. (You saw the priority of the network then. You have seen the letter of the network sent a year later. What will you do with the money? What is important during the crucial campaign period is a make or break if you are a candidate.)

“Nagtataka lang po ako bakit mas binigyan pa ng slot ang black propaganda. Paninira po ‘yun sa isang kandidato. Siraan siya para bumaba ang rating that time. Very crucial ‘yun kaya siniraan siya,” he added. (I am surprised why the network gave way to black propaganda. That destroys a candidate. He was destroyed so that his rating will go down. That is crucial.)

The network claimed that the President did not accept the second and last tranche of the political ad payment.

During the Senate hearing on issues surrounding ABS-CBN’s franchise, Go said that it is clear that someone went overboard in trying to malign the President by airing the black propaganda ads in 2016.

“Remember, in an election campaign, especially in a presidential campaign, there is no tomorrow. Every second matters. Isa lang ang mananalo kaya malaking bagay ang makapag-ere ng mga ads. Napaka-unfair naman kung inere yung sa kalaban mo, alam naman nating black propaganda, inuna pa iyon. Kaysa i-ere sa iyo wala, na bayad naman na,” Go said during the hearing. (Since only one emerges the winner in an election, it is important that the ads be aired. What is unfair is that the black propaganda against another candidate came out. That propaganda was aired over the paid ad of then candidate Duterte.)

Asked if the President will accept ABS-CBN’s apology, Go said, “Hopefully, tanggapin n’ya ang sorry. May puso naman ang mahal na Pangulo kaya naman siya minamahal ng taumbayan.” (Hopefully, he will accept ABS CBN’s apology. The President has a big heart, that is why the Filipino people love him.)

Read more: Go demands fair, balanced reporting from ABS-CBN

Source: Manila Bulletin

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