ABS-CBN stars heartbroken after House committee rejects network's franchise

Despite pleas from the public – from workers to the most high-profile celebrities – ABS-CBN's franchise application was rejected by lawmakers on Friday, July 10.

A total of 70 members of the House of Representatives' legislative franchises committee voted to adopt the resolution rejecting bills that seek to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, while 11 voted against it. Two other members inhibited from voting while one abstained.

The decision is considered a blow to press freedom and hurts the network's 11,000 workers, among them, its talents, who took to social media to express their grief and dismay at the news.

The stars went from tweeting heart emojis in ABS-CBN's signature red, green, and blue colors to posting broken heart emojis, many of them apparently at a loss for words.

— Joshua Garcia (@iamjoshuagarcia) July 10, 2020

https://t.co/jlWZQLgOUS — Donny (@donnypangilinan) July 10, 2020

— Julia Barretto (@barrettojulia) July 10, 2020

https://t.co/FYQEwmmz0w — marietta subong (@pokwang27) July 10, 2020

— Bianca Gonzalez (@iamsuperbianca) July 10, 2020

Liza Soberano, one of the network's most bankable stars, also tweeted a broken heart emoji shortly after the news broke. In a subsequent tweet, she said "Wish I could hug everyone I love from ABS-CBN right now."

Wish I could hug everyone i love from ABS-CBN right now — Liza Soberano (@lizasoberano) July 10, 2020

"To all the employees who are greatly affected by this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry they aren’t sorry," she continued.

To all the employees who are greatly affected by this. I’m sorry. I’m sorry they aren’t sorry. — Liza Soberano (@lizasoberano) July 10, 2020

"Nakakaputang Ina," tweeted actress Ria Atayde, who added "Hindi kami makakalimot (we will not forget)."

Nakakaputang Ina. — Ria Atayde (@RiaAtayde) July 10, 2020

Love Thy Woman star Kim Chiu also expressed that she was heartbroken, and thanked the 11 legislators who voted in favor of granting the franchise.

"Salamat po sa 11 na bumoto at nagbigay sa amin ng pag asa. Sa 70...grabe po (Thank you to the 11 who voted and gave us hope. To the 70...just wow)," she said.

salamat po sa 11 na bumoto at nagbigay sa amin ng pag asa. Sa 70.....,,,,grabe po. https://t.co/IWHCnhODOa — kim chiu (@prinsesachinita) July 10, 2020

Actress Angel Locsin – who had earlier trooped to Batasang Pambansa along with other ABS-CBN workers to urge lawmakers to give the network a chance – shared a photo on Instagram of her rally sign on the ground.

"Kami po ay tulala at hindi alam kung anong gagawin (we are in shock and don't know what to do)," she said.

"Gusto ko lang pong magpasalamat sa ilang taong pagtanggap nyo po sa amin sa inyong mga tahanan (I want to thank you all for the many years you welcomed us into your homes," she added.

View this post on Instagram Tapos na po ang botohan. Kami po ay tulala at hindi alam kung anong gagawin. Gusto ko lang pong magpasalamat sa ilang taong pagtanggap nyo po sa amin sa inyong mga tahanan A post shared by Angel Locsin (@therealangellocsin) on Jul 10, 2020 at 12:33am PDT

A Soldier's Heart star Gerald Anderson said the news was "unbelievable" in a post on Instagram.

"We will rise again.. Praying for everyone who depends on ABS-CBN to provide for their families.. Our company and bosses fought so hard for us.. Always remember their efforts for us," he said.

View this post on Instagram Unbelievable.. we will rise again.. Praying for everyone who depends on ABS-CBN to provide for their families.. Our company and bosses fought so hard for us.. Always remember their efforts for us. A post shared by Gerald Anderson (@andersongeraldjr) on Jul 10, 2020 at 12:33am PDT

On Twitter, actress Chie Filomeno said "70 people just crushed the hearts of 11,000 people and their family." In a subsequent tweet, she thanked the 11 legislators who voted in favor of the franchise renewal.

70 people just crushed the hearts of 11,000 people and their family.... — Chienna Filomeno (@ChieFilomeno) July 10, 2020

Salamat sa 11 congressmen na andyan para sa amin hanggang dulo. — Chienna Filomeno (@ChieFilomeno) July 10, 2020

It's Showtime host Anne Curtis on Instagram said she was "lost for words," and heartbroken for everyone affected by the decision "from our bosses to all the employees and the loyal viewers of ABSCBN."

"It is indeed a very sad day," she said. "I know people won’t forget this," she added, thanking those who prayed for the network and supported them.

"I stay hopeful that somehow this isn’t the end...A big hug to my Kapamilya Family," she said.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Anne Curtis (@annecurtissmith) on Jul 10, 2020 at 12:58am PDT

In the Philippines, broadcast companies are required by law to have a franchise from Congress. ABS-CBN had previously held a 25-year franchise, which lapsed on May 4. The House sat on bills that were filed for its renewal, until it expired last May 4. 

The government-run National Telecommunications Commission shut down the media giant a day after. – Rappler.com