Albay first district Rep. Edcel Lagman has some advice for ABS-CBN and TV5, after a resolution was filed before the House of Representatives to investigate the supposed legality of the deal between the two network companies.
He said in a statement on Thursday (August 25) – after the two companies decided to delay the closing of their agreement to clarify first the queries from lawmakers – that no laws were violated with the agreement.
“[Be] brave and steadfast in closing their business agreement which is aboveboard and violates no law or regulation,” Lagman said.
“There is no merger of ABS-CBN and TV5, and ABS-CBN’s minority investment in TV5 does not result in the acquisition of control,” Lagman added.
On August 15, Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, whose claim to fame during the elections is his role in the killing of the franchise of ABS-CBN in the lower chamber, delivered a privileged speech doubting whether ABS-CBN can circumvent the law and return to free TV, and accused TV5 of being foreign-owned.
Two days after, three representatives filed separate resolutions to probe the investment agreement, during the House committee on legislative franchises hearing on Wednesday, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said that it would ask TV5 if it had a clearance from the government if the deal with ABS-CBN pushes through.
Lagman says requiring TV5 and ABS-CBN to seek prior approval from the NTC, Philippine Competition Commission, and Congress is a trampling of press freedom and free speech.
“[Press freedom] is the instrument by which citizens keep their government informed of their needs, their aspirations and their grievances. It is the sharpest weapon in the fight to keep government responsible and efficient,” the Albay lawmaker said.
“Without a vigilant press, the mistakes of every administration would go uncorrected and its abuses unexposed,” he added.
Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.
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