Richard Gomez says gov't responsible for ABS-CBN shutdown

Actor-turned-Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez did not mince words: the shutdown of ABS-CBN is the government's own doing. 

At the Laging Handa briefing, Communications Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio asked Gomez for a message to his friends at the broadcast giant ABS-CBN "as an actor and part of the original cast of Palibhasa Lalake."

Gomez played the role of "Ricky," among the main characters of the comedy show Palibhasa Lalake, which premiered on ABS-CBN in 1987.

"Naku, Usec Rocky, baka mas maganda yata kayo sasagot niyan dahil kayo sa gobyerno," Gomez said, letting out a chuckle, "ang nagpahinto sa pag-broadcast ng ABS-CBN."

(Undersecretary Rocky, maybe it's better if you answer that because it's you in the government who stopped the broadcast operations of ABS-CBN.)

After its franchise lapsed on May 4, the National Telecommunications Commission turned 180 degrees from its earlier statements that it would give ABS-CBN the provisional authority to operate.

Instead, it issued a cease and desist order against the media giant on Tuesday, May 5. ABS-CBN has since gone off-air.

Gomez pointed out that the network's stars, regardless of their status, are employed under a "no work, no pay" scheme.

"Alam naman natin na ang artista 'pag hindi nagtrabaho, wala ring kikitain. 'Yung trabaho namin, per day kami eh. Although depende sa artista, may malaki na artista, may maliit na artista. Pero ang mano ng trabaho tsaka sahod namin, pare-pareho lang: 'no work, no pay,'" he said.

(We know that for artists, if they don't work, they won't earn anything. Our work is on a per day basis. Although that depends on the artist, there are big stars, there are rising ones. But our work arrangement and salary are the same: "no work, no pay.")

The actor-turned-politician was saddened by the move because of the thousands of workers affected by the closure order.

"Hopefully, matugunan na. Kahit provisionary lang ang ibibigay sa prangkisa nila nang sa gano'n ang ABS-CBN, makapag-ere," Gomez said.

(Hopefully, it gets addressed. I'm hoping that even a provisional franchise will be given to them, so that ABS-CBN will be able to go back on air.)

President Rodrigo Duterte had repeatedly threatened the network in the past.

ABS-CBN has earned the presidential ire since 2016, after the media giant aired a 2016 ad paid for by then-senator Antonio Trillanes IV showing Duterte cursing and uttering his controversial rape remark. (READ: Bong Go: It's those anti-Duterte ads on ABS-CBN that got the boss’ goat)

NTC had previously committed to Congress that it would issue a temporary permit to ABS-CBN once its franchise expires. A day before it lapsed, Solicitor General Jose Calida warned NTC commissioners against issuing a provisional authority to the media giant. 

Senators have condemned NTC's cease and desist order, citing "grave abuse of discretion." The House panel on legislative franchises, meanwhile, said that the agency may be held in contempt for the move.

Given that the jobs of 11,000 ABS-CBN employees are at stake, labor groups said the NTC's "callousness" is a betrayal of the workers– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

image