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Lawmaker takes offense at ‘noted’: ABS-CBN News’ top boss does a Kiko Pangilinan

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ABS-CBN integrated news and current affairs chief Ging Reyes hit a raw nerve with Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor after she merely “noted” his rant about the network’s supposed allusion to his suggestion to shut its news division while franchise hearings were going on.

At the 12th joint committee hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise Monday (July 6), Defensor took ABS-CBN to task for its position paper claiming that the network’s shutdown “has emboldened certain forces to restrict us from news gathering and reporting the news.”

“In recent days, a suggestiion has been put forward to allow ABS-CBN to operate in consideration of its employees, but without the News division– on account of supposedly ‘biased, one-sided reporting.’ If carried out, not only would this render around 1,000 news personnel jobless, it would send the strong and terrifying message that indeed the press was being silenced,” the paper read.

In an interview on TV5 last month, Defensor suggested that ABS-CBN be allowed to return on free television pending the end of the committee hearings on the condition that only its entertainment shows will air.

“Personal ko ito. I cannot speak for everyone. Kung ako, kunwari tanggalin muna yung news and public affairs. Not because ma-influence yung committee. Not because we want to curtail press freedom. Pabayaan muna yung shows na muna na non-political,” he said.

At the hearing, Defensor claimed it was ABS-CBN executies who appealed to him not to restrict the network from showing its programs on Channel 43, which is airing on digital receiver boxes.

“Before the hearing of the digibox, kinausap niyo rin ako. Sabi niyo tulungan muna sana huwag muna ipitin ang digibox. And now you come up with this position saying that I am saying that, to close the news and public affairs division?” he said.

“For ABS-CBN to take this position, I take offense. Wala akong sinabing ganito. Wala akong sinasabing sa pagbigay ng prangkisa niyo, huwag magkaroon ng news and public affairs. I never said that,” Defensor added.

Reyes replied: “We note the sentiments of the honorable Defensor. Wala naman kaming masasabi pa.”

Coming to Reyes’ defense was ABS-CBN president and Chief Executive Officer Carlo Katigbak, who made a similar muted response.

“Sorry po, hindi po noted yung sagot namin. I want to take responsibility for what was written in this position paper. I didn’t realize this was an allusion to you. But please allow us to review this statement. And if it needs to be corrected, we will submit a revised version to the Comm Sec, with your permission,” he told lawmakers.

Reyes’ remark brings to mind the “noted” reply made by Senator Francis Pangilinan as a member of the national board of canvassers in the 2004 elections to the opposition’s request to look into election returns (ERs) supposedly indicating fraud.

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