Carlo Katigbak Refutes All Four Accusations Against ABS-CBN
ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carlo Katigbak answered all the allegations leveled against the broadcast network.
Katigbak once again faced the scrutiny of legislators from the House of Representatives during the hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal on June 1. In the hearing, Katigbak refuted each of the four arguments made by House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta during the first hearing on May 26.
Marcoleta, SAGIP Party-list representative, is blocking attempts to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.
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Katigbak first refuted Marcoleta’s claim that the constitution limits the granting of franchises for broadcast networks for only 50 years. Marcoleta said that ABS-CBN has been operating for more than 50 years.
But according to Katigbak, it is the franchise, not the lifespan of a company, that should not exceed 50 years. Katigak enumerated companies with more than 50 years of operation as broadcasting networks but were granted franchises.
Among them were TV5 (60 years) IBC (65 years), and PLDT (91 years).
Gabby Lopez’s Citizenship
Katigbak also denied Marcoleta’s accusation that ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III is not Filipino.
Katigbak explained that it is provided in the 1935 Constitution that a person born to Filipino parents are also Filipinos.
The U.S. citizenship of Lopez, said Katigbak, was granted to him because he was born in the United State.
“Being an American citizen holding a U.S. passport does not mean he is not Filipino,” said Katigbak.
Lopez is the son of Eugenio "Geny" Lopez Jr., the founder ng ABS-CBN.
Geny was unlawfully arrested and imprisoned for five during martial law. When he escaped, he fled to the United States where he married, which is why Gabby was born in America.
Katigbak likewise refuted claims that using Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) was tantamount to foreign ownership of ABS-CBN.
“The PDR is not a share or ownership in ABS-CBN,” ani Katigbak.
“This is clear, because holders of PDRs do not have the power to vote on any issue regarding the operations of ABS-CBN.
“How can you be an owner if you cannot vote on issues regarding the operations of the company?”
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the sale of PDRs, said Katigbak. He also said that rival network GMA-7 also sells PDRs, but its franchise renewal did not become an issue.
The Lopezes and ABS-CBN
The fourth issue refuted by Katigbak was something he called “the most painful accusation.”
Marcoleta claims the reacquisition of ABS-CBN by the Lopez family in 1986 was illegal.
ABS-CBN was among the media companies that was illegally taken over by dictator Ferdinand Marcos when he declared martial law.
Katigbak explained that the family did not sell ABS-CBN. “Hindi po ibinenta ng Lopez family ang ABS-CBN.
“Basta ginamit na lang ng iba ang mga facilities ng ABS-CBN nang walang binayaran.
“Kaya hindi po totoo ang paratang na bigla na lang napasakamay muli ng mga Lopez ang ABS-CBN, dahil sila naman ang tunay na may-ari nito.”
Katigbak further refuted the Marcoleta’s accusation by citing the decision of the Philippine Commission on Good Government (PCGG), Office of the President, and Supreme Court on the return of ABS-CBN to the Lopez family.
“'Yan po ang aming katotohanan,” said Katigbak.