A former lawmaker criticized a former colleague’s proposal for Congress to reopen investigations into ABS-CBN.
Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares said that instead of investigating ABS-CBN that does not have any congressional broadcasting franchise, his former colleagues at the House of Representatives should instead investigate religious leader Apollo C. Quiboloy’s Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) for allegedly violating the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) code, violating its franchise, involvement in red-tagging and spreading fake news.
“SMNI ang dapat imbestigahan ng Kongreso hindi ang ABS-CBN na nagtatrabaho ng patas. Daig pa ng SMNI ang mga troll sa pagkakalat ng kasinungalingan at fake news at ito ang dapat matigil,” Colmenares said in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
Colmenares was reacting to the proposal of Cavite 4th District Rep. Elipidio Barzaga Jr., to reopen the lower chamber’s investigation into the alleged violations of ABS-CBN following its new content deals with international media organizations. Calls to reopen investigations on ABS-CBN resurfaced after Justice Sec. Jesus Remulla complained of ABS-CBN’s coverage of the story on the arrest of his son Juanito for allegedly importing high grade marijuana.
“If this plan to re-investigate ABS-CBN continues even if it has been stripped of its franchise and its workers have lost their jobs, it will look like an abuse of the power of Congress and harassment of the media,” said the Bayan Muna leader.
“This is where we can test if congressmen are also keen to investigate former President Duterte’s allies in the media such as SMNI or ABS-CBN as their only target,” said Colmenares in Filipino.
Earlier, civil society coalition Movement Against Disinformation called out SMNI for allegedly violating the Broadcast Code of the Philippines and its legislative franchise, which prohibits deliberately disseminating false information.
On Tuesday, Barzaga, a known ally of Remulla, claimed that the reinvestigation needs to be reopened to check if the media company has corrected its legal infringements that led to the denial of the renewal of its broadcasting franchise.
However, resource speakers from various government agencies invited during the marathon hearings have testified that ABS-CBN has either complied or is complying with the issues raised against it.
Barzaga is one of the 70 congressmen allied with then-Pres. Rodrigo Duterte who voted to deny ABS-CBN a franchise renewal.