Anakalusugan Party-List Representative Mike Defensor said that Senator Grace Poe was “mistaken” to suspect double standard between the franchise cases of ABS-CBN and DITO Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel).

Poe earlier said that Congress should have given ABS-CBN the same “considerations” it gave to DITO Telecommunity, in which Defensor disputed: “She should look at what Congress did during that time.”

He stressed that the “key issues” that led to the collective franchise denial were the network’s Philippine deposit receipts (PDRs), alleged tax evasion, and labor practices. Defensor was among the legislators who junked the network giant’s franchise bid.

ABS-CBN, however, was cleared over these key issues during the hearings, according to the statements of representatives from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong clarified that ABS-CBN’s issuance of PDRs does “not reflect transfer of ownership to foreigners.” The BIR also testified that ABS-CBN regularly settled taxes and is one of the country’s top taxpayers. Finally, a DOLE official said that ABS-CBN complied with labor standards.

Last Friday, the House franchise committee junked ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid for television and radio broadcast services with 70-11 votes, putting its 11,000 workers at risk of unemployment amid COVID-19.

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