Seares: What Senate just did: Lessened the muddle on ABS-CBN issue

The Short Of It

Being mean or nice

Sound bite that rang out loud at the hearing Monday (Feb. 24) of the Senate committee on public services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe:

“If you are mean to the president, he will be meaner. If you are nice to him, he will be nicer.”

Sen. Bong Go said that, along with a promise to appeal to the President not to close down ABS-CBN because of the thousands of people who would lose their jobs.


The committee hearing has reduced confusion over a number of facts in the controversy over the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

It cleared the air on many puzzlements, including:

[1] Its right to hold the hearing ahead of the House action on pending bills seeking the renewal and the companion issue of sub judice and gag order: Supreme Court decisions allow it, provided the Senate does not act on its version before receipt of the House version;

[2] What could be done in the interim, when the franchise of the network expires and neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has decided on pending matters before them: National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) could issue a provisional permit, “guided” by the DOJ opinion and the “sense” of Congress. Precedents all show the franchisee being allowed to continue operation until the end of the Congress in which the bills are pending.

[3] The taxes allegedly not paid by ABS-CBN: there were none. On the other hand, it was shown that both national and local governments would suffer billions of pesos loss should the source of the taxes be shut down.

[4] Alleged violations on foreign capital in the media organization and other regulations of the Securities & Exchange Commission: The SEC has not received a complaint against ABS-CBN nor is it investigating the network for any such violation.

Not yet out of the woods

To be sure, one hearing didn’t resolve the crisis ABS-CBN has been facing. And the hearing did not end question of the pending bills before the House which would either be killed right there or approved and sent to the Senate. It didn’t even finalize the interim solution. Or the quo warranto case before the Supreme Court.

What it uncovered were the fabricated or distorted bits of information hurled against the network. What lent credibility to the testimony at the hearing was that they were under oath and given by both sides in the controversy, including the regulatory offices and agencies concerned, such as SEC, Bureau of Internal Revenue, and NTC.

‘Severely wasted’ kids

“Wasted” in slang means drunk or stoned. When applied to schoolchildren, however, the Cebu Provincial Board (PB) means the part of a person that is weak or emaciated. Those who are very thin for their height are “severely wasted” because of malnutrition.

The PB plans to revive the giving of Nutribun to schoolchildren, a kind of bread that is like “pan de sal,” only more nutritious. The nutrients come from local veggies such as kamunggay, kamote, and the like. The PB aims to help the children and at the same time boost local farmers’ income.

The problem could be the taste. The Nutribun was eaten up in the ‘70s, during martial law days, before children acquired the taste for fast-food fare. The new version of Nutribun may need to be nutritious and delicious as well.

Filemon’s hymn to the city

Missing Filemon, the Cebu-based singing group that’s one of the Cebu City Charter Day awardees this year, is recognized for its role in increasing public interest in Cebuano-Bisaya music.

It’s use of the local idiom is exemplified in “Suroy-suroy,” one of its more popular songs that offers a kind of hymn to the city.

Celebrating simple joy: “patid labay-labay sa lata.” Slamming disorder and threat to public health: “kadalanan sa atong dakbayan/gubot pa’s lukot,” “usahay sa larsian/magsakit ang tiyan.” Calling out the thievery and violence: “mga cellphone gilabni sa tindero’g mani,” “the city smells of guns and goons/ no more candles and balloons.”


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