Remulla: Amcara Broadcasting Network is ABS-CBN’s ‘dummy’

Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla accused Amcara Broadcasting Network of being a “dummy” of ABS-CBN Corporation.

The Cavite 7th District congressman did not mince words against the two broadcasting companies as the House resumed its 11th joint committee hearing on the issues hounding ABS-CBN’s franchise application.

“We have already elicited facts na ito pong Amcara ay isang moro-moro po… Malinaw na ho the dummy relationship between ABS-CBN and Amcara is existing,” Remulla said.

(We have already elicited facts that this Amcara is a sham… It’s now clear that the dummy relationship between ABS-CBN and Amcara is existing.)

ABS-CBN has a block-time arrangement with Amcara, which owns Channel 43. Using Amcara's frequency, the agreement allows ABS-CBN to broadcast on several channels through ABS-CBN TVPlus. These include TeleRadyo, Jeepney TV, Yey!, Asianovela Channel, CineMo, and KBO.

But as of Wednesday, July 1, these ABS-CBN channels were no longer viewable on TVPlus after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the embattled network to stop broadcasting using Channel 43.

The NTC had earlier ordered ABS-CBN to close its television and radio operations after its legislative franchise lapsed on May 4.

Pressed by Remulla during Thursday’s hearing, Amcara chairman Rodrigo Carandang admitted that the transmitters his company was using to air digital TV channels was actually purchased by ABS-CBN.

“Nag-execute po ng deed of assignment between ABS-CBN and Amcara sa digital transmitters kasi nakabili na sila eh… Ito lang hong sa digital lang po,” Carandang said.

(We executed a deed of assignment between ABS-CBN and Amcara for the digital transitters because they already bought the equipment… This is only for the digital operations.)

Later on in the hearing, Kabayan Representative Ron Salo asked Amcara president Tony Veloso about the details of their block-time arrangement with ABS-CBN.

Veloso said that for 21 hours a day, 7 days a week, ABS-CBN’s digital channels were available for viewing on Channel 43. The remaining 3 hours were only used to sign-off Channel 43 at the end of the day.

When Salo asked if Amcara and ABS-CBN sought a legislative franchise for the block-time deal, Veloso said no.

Remulla argued this scheme has allegedly allowed ABS-CBN to circumvent the terms of its franchise.

“Ang lumalabas kasi rito, ‘yong fraud, may element po ng fraud against the legislative power of Congress. Kasi nagmamalinis po eh,” Remulla said, who had previously accused ABS-CBN of “engaging in the usufruct of another franchise.”

(What’s emerging here is fraud, there is an element of fraud against the legislative power of Congress. They’re pretending to be clean.)

ABS-CBN, Amcara deny anomalies

Executives of both ABS-CBN and Amcara, however, maintained their block-time arrangement is above-board.

Veloso argued the Kapisan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) allowed blocktimers in the local broadcasting industry.

“I was president and chairman also of the KBP Standards Authority, and we have rules and regulations governing block-time agreements. And these agreements are usual in the broadcasting industry po. And it is not a usufruct, your honor. We stand by that, your honor,” said Veloso.

ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak made a similar statement during the hearing late Wednesday night.

“A block-time arrangement is not usufruct. A block-time arrangement is a standard commercial agreement that is quite common in the broadcasting industry,” Katigbak told lawmakers. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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