ABS-CBN Franchise attacks is all about corporate greed


Everyone knows that staunch Duterte supporter Dennis Uy already created his own media corporation–the Udenna media. And for the past four years, Uy and his close associates have practically created a humongous conglomerate, the likes of which, have never been seen in the history of our nation. Uy’s tentacles had penetrated every single business there is in this country despite talks within the business community that he once lacked the funds to finance his acquisitions (which he did left and right). If Marcos had his Lucio, and Estrada his Tan, Arroyo her Cheng, Duterte has his Uy— that gentleman from Davao, not Lubao.

Question that everyone is asking— where did Uy get his monies to finance all of his ventures? We can only speculate at this point. For an investigative journalist, it would be a nice subject if we can review the lists of investors of several blue-chip companies which President Rodrigo Roa Duterte subjected to humiliating and highly public remarks, pre-Duterte attack and post-Duterte attacks. How many of Uy’s associates, if there are, benefitted from the stock price drops these firms suffered during these planned attacks? News reports would show that these companies suffered at much as 70% drop in their share prices the minute President Duterte opened his mouth and made public his litany of lies, err, highly personal opinions about these firms. Don’t tell me that these are not planned to make these firms’ share prices drop for the taking of new investors?

ABS-CBN is getting hit, left and right by Duterte’s minions. The Supreme Court accepted the petition for quo warranto filed by no less than Duterte’s lawyer, the Solicitor General Jose Calida. The High Court directed ABS-CBN to answer the allegations made by Calida.

Aside from what Duterte accused the media giant of, Calida has his own list of what he described as “abuses” committed by ABS-CBN 2. I don’t want to discuss these issues Calida raised as these are being discussed as we speak before the court. Questions on the propriety of jurisdiction is one, abuse of power is another, and the not so discreet arrogation of what is clearly the domain of the House, make this case an entirely weird legal creature. Suffice it to say, Calida is testing the limits of our Constitution, for whatever reason, no one knows except their highly knit Davao clique.

What does these Palace moves communicate to us, ordinary citizens and to businessmen in general? I will give my two-cents worth.

This is part of a plan to strengthen the powers granted to the President by the very Constitution which several allies of the President want to change. The first thing the Duterte clique did is test the legal guarantees accorded by the laws to ordinary citizens thru its anti-drugs campaign. The campaign, while a failure, is actually deemed successful by Duterte and his minions because the Oplan Tokhang campaign promoted widespread terrorism among the public with the end goal of making the people follow what Duterte planned to establish–a personal fiefdom controlled and dominated by him and his minions. Oplan Tokhang is all about dissent–nothing more. It is also about obedience to the Powers–obey us, and keep your life. Disrespect us, and pay for your life and your family’s future.

The second thing which Duterte’s clique did is test how far it can cross the invisible divide between the state and enterprise. Under a capitalist system, there is such a thing as a line which the state cannot cross, and that is, influence or directly affect the direction a firm should take. Under the laissez-faire principle, the state’s role is provide for a level playing field so that firms can openly and freely transact their business. Laws are meant to lay down rules which limit or delimit the scope by which a firm can operate.

Now, this is different when we talk about private firms involved in the dispensation of public services. Media is one such utility. Under these principles, the state allows firms such as ABS-CBN to operate and use space (which belonged to the public) to propagate or distribute whatever stories or opinions it holds for the enrichment of knowledge. That explains why there are franchises.

Now, why is it that ABS-CBN is being accused of violating the terms and provisions of its franchise? Simple–the state wants to influence the way the firm is dispensing its functions thru a corporate route. Attacks made against ABS-CBN are aimed toward weakening investor confidence behind the management. As management control depends much on revenues, a revenue drop impinges on the perceived abilities of the ones in control to generate more funds for the firm. Share price drops are ways by which an outsider may be able to influence other members of the board to change management.

Meaning–the state is accelerating its attacks against ABS-CBN not because it is on the quest for justice or as a cavalrous act to defend the rights of the ordinary Filipino, no. THIS IS ABOUT GREED, CORPORATE GREED. The allies of the state wants a slice of ABS-CBN because having such a slice COMPLETES THEIR PLAN.

And what is this convergence plan? And if the state’s allies succeed in “killing ABS-CBN”, it lays open the possibility of these unscrupulous individuals to plan attacks against other media entities, such as Inquirer, TV5 and others. ABS-CBN is a test case which is heading towards a catastrophe.

(to be continued..)

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