PERJURY is the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding.
It is considered a serious offense, as it can be used to usurp the power of the courts, resulting in the miscarriages of justice.
On Monday, February 24, ABS-CBN was finally given the chance to address allegations of franchise violations, among others, circulated by no less than the supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte before the franchise of the broadcasting network is set to expire on March 30.
Despite more than 11 bills waiting to be heard in the House of Representatives, and despite the public threats by the president himself to shut down the broadcasting company echoed by his minions of adoring fans and ever-loyal followers, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano determined the issue of the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN as not an urgent matter. This is unlike a charter change, as his statements suggested to be of paramount importance that the lawmakers should be prioritizing.
The Senate asserted its oversight function and held this hearing, notwithstanding the gag order filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida to silence ABS-CBN and its people — and arguably, even the Senate itself — over alleged franchise violations of the broadcasting network.
As reported by ABS-CBN News, “Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon cited a 25-year old Supreme Court ruling that said the Senate could tackle bills simultaneously with the House of Representatives.” This is a principle being challenged by Cayetano.
“The Supreme Court squarely ruled that there is nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the filing of counterpart bills in the Senate as long as the filing of a committee report in the body is withheld,” Drilon said. Senate Chairwoman of the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media Sen. Grace Poe said simultaneous hearings would make the process even faster.
ABS-CBN News reported that in his opening statement, ABS-CBN President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo L. Katigbak maintained under oath that “it did not violate any of the provisions of its franchise, and emphasized that it operated based on its mission to be in the service of the Filipino people.”
This assertion had been corroborated by government officials and regulatory bodies called in the hearing to testify under oath.
After the hearing the network issued on the statement on the Senate Hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise issue:
“We are very grateful for the opportunity given to us by the Senate to air our side and clarify issues about our franchise.
As we have heard today, ABS-CBN has not been cited for any violations with regard to tax payments, election laws, or compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Like many other companies that have been operating or providing services for a long time, we have pending issues associated with labor as well as other matters related to the regular course of doing business. We believe in due process and will comply, as we always have, with any decisions made by the proper authorities.
We continue to trust in the legal processes and the fairness in the hearings for our franchise renewal.
Thank you to everyone who showed support for us today. We hope for your continued support and prayers as we pursue the chance to continue providing meaningful and important service to the Filipino people. This is what we, and all employees of ABS-CBN, believe in.”
In contrast, the critics, bloggers, some news personalities and supporters loyal to the president would freely castigate and declare the shutdown of ABS-CBN, but no one among them had testified under oath in a formal hearing to swear by the veracity of their allegations. Some have even spread malicious lies and fabrications against ABS-CBN, its management, owners, personalities and supporters.
So what could be the cause of the threat of Duterte to shutdown ABS-CBN?
“An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth?”
Abangan ang susunod na kabanata…
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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.