ABS-CBN on Monday stood by the legality of the return of ABS-CBN’s broadcast facilities to the Lopez family, arguing it never lost ownership of the network even during Martial Law.

ABS-CBN: Lopez family never lost ownership of ABS-CBN even during martial law

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ABS-CBN on Monday stood by the legality of the return of ABS-CBN’s broadcast facilities to the Lopez family, arguing it never lost ownership of the network even during Martial Law.

“Hindi po nawalay ang pag-aari ng Lopez family sa ABS-CBN at mga broadcast facilities and equipment even from the time when Martial Law was declared until today,” ABS-CBN lawyer Arecio Rendor Jr. told a joint House panel hearing ABS-CBN’s franchise application.

“Isang patunay ay ang titulo na na-issue sa ABS-CBN noong 1967. Kahit po shares of stocks nung nagsimula po ang ABS-CBN when it was incorporated, ay hindi po nawalay sa mga stockholders nito. What was taken from ABS-CBN was the mere possession of all its real estate and broadcast equipment,” he said.

Rendor, who was involved in the arbitration case of ABS-CBN to recover its properties, added that the return of real estate and broadcast facilities after the EDSA Revolution to the Lopezes underwent due process.

The process, he said, began when then ABS-CBN lawyer Lorenzo Tañada wrote to then President Cory Aquino on April 17, 1986 to return possession of properties to ABS-CBN since the country was no longer in crisis.

“This paved the way for the execution of the agreement to arbitrate on January 6, 1987,” he said.

Rendor said the arbitration between ABS-CBN and the government, including the Supreme Court decision in October 16, 1989 upholding the agreement between the Cory administration and ABS-CBN for the return of the properties.

He said the process continued until the time of former President Fidel Ramos, when Branch 65 of Makati Regional Trial Court on June 23, 1995 upheld the decision of the arbitration board.

“Two administrations gave imprimatur for the return of the possession of ABS-CBN of its real estate, properties, and broadcast equipment,” he said.

“And even the Supreme Court won validating the agreement to arbitrate and another one for the factual circumstances lends constitutionality to the return,” Rendor said.

Rendor maintained that it was ABS-CBN that was prejudiced and the aggrieved party as the Lopezes, citing Section 9 of the Bill of Rights, which states that “private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.”

“ABS-CBN should be legally-compensated because the takeover, as far as ABS-CBN is concerned, the legal position, was not in accordance with law,” he said.

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3 na patay! Makabayan bloc slams ‘tokhang style’ raids in Southern Luzon

By Billy Begas

Members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives condemned the tokhang-style simultaneous raids in the Southern Luzon region, which resulted in the death of three activists.

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate it was supposed to be a Sabbath Day, but government troops made it a bloodbath day.

“Ito ang gustong mangyari palagi ng gobyernong Duterte sa ilalim ng terror law, na araw-araw ay may madugong raid at pagtatanim ng ebidensya laban sa oposisyon at kritiko ng gobyerno. They already did this in Mindanao, Negros, Manila, Tacloban, Capiz, and, now Southern Tagalog, where an obvious pattern or modus operandi of Tokhang emerges,” said Zarate.

He said that activists will be initially red tagged and put under surveillance and harassment. “Last, their homes or offices would be raided, evidence planted on them or they would be killed.

According to Karapatan-Southern Tagalog in Laguna two labor leaders and a human rights worker were arrested. They claimed that authorities planted firearms and explosives on them.

In Rizal, two were killed and the house of two peasant leaders were raided.

In Cavite, the office of the Workers’ Assistance Center in Dasmarinas was also raided, where BAYAN Cavite coordinator Manny Asuncion was killed.

In Nasugbu, Batangas, a fisherfolk leader and two of his family members were arrested.

The house of Lino Baez of BAYAN-Batangas was peppered with bullets.

Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Ferdinand Gaite and Eufemia Cullamat also condemned the attacks.

Gaite said the incidents are the result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” message.

“Just last Friday, Pres. Duterte in a speech in Cagayan de Oro told state forces to kill armed rebels. But, these forces do not distinguish between armed rebels or activists, they just kill then say ‘nanlaban’ then plant firearms and explosives,” said Gaite.

Cullamat urged Congress to investigate the rampant human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said search warrants are being weaponized to crack down on activists, peasants, trade union organizers and human rights defenders.

“Walang katumbas na salita at galit ang sahol ng atake at inhustisya!” Elago added.

Inflation adjusted: House panel okays bill raising max deposit insurance coverage to P1M

By Billy Begas

The House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries has approved a measure that will empower the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) to increase the maximum deposit insurance coverage (MDIC).

The committee deliberated on House Bill 5812 authored by Makati City Rep. Luis Campos to increase the deposit insurance coverage to P1 million from the current P500,000 that was pegged 12 years ago.

Instead of putting a cap on the insurance coverage, the committee chaired by Quirino Rep. Junie Cua instead opted to authorize the PDIC’s governing board to increase the MDIC “to an amount indexed to inflation and other economic indicators, subject to review and/or adjustment every three years.”

Campos said the committee’s proposal is better since the PDIC will now be allowed not just to initially raise the MDIC, but also periodically thereafter.

“This relieves Congress of having to worry about adjusting upward the MDIC every now and then to account for the general increase in prices,” Campos, a committee member,” said Campos.

The MDIC stood at P40,000 in 1984. Congress increased it to P100,000 in 1992, P250,000 in 2004 and P500,000 in 2009.

Banks pay for the compulsory insurance premiums to guarantee the MDIC.

Kiko to gov’t: Follow guidelines on priority sectors to vaccinate first

Senator Kiko Pangilinan on Sunday appealed to the government to respect its own guidelines and priority list and to refrain from violating them and skipping to the head of the queue for the limited Covid-19 vaccine shots.

“Nakasaad sa batas na sinertify as urgent at ipinasa ng Senado na dapat inuuna ang mga health workers sa mga bakuna dahil sila ang nasa unahan ng pakikipaglaban sa virus,” he said, citing Republic Act 11525.

Noting the recent spike in Covid cases and the emergence of new strains, Pangilinan said Republic Act 11525 or the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act passed by Congress lists the hierarchy on the priority list for those who need to get vaccinated: healthcare workers, senior citizens, people with co-morbidities, frontline personnel including uniformed personnel and teachers, and indigent population.

“Di ba sa eroplano pag may emergency, pinauuna ang mga magulang sa pagsuot ng life vest at oxygen mask para mapangalagaan din niya ang kasamang anak? Ganun din dito. Inuuna muna ang pwedeng mag-alaga sa mga vulnerable, pagkatapos ang vulnerable,” he said.

“’Ika nga, yung mga hindi nakasakay sa eroplano, hindi kasama. Usapin ito ng kalusugan kaya unahin ang makakasiguro ng kalusugan ng sambayanan at ng ekonomiya,” he added.

Pangilinan’s reminder also comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) made a statement noting that the Philippine officials’ disregard of the priority list may “impact and jeopardize future deliveries of vaccines through the Covax facility” to the country.

The Covax Facility is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to the vaccines.

WHO has advised that priority groups should include healthcare workers on the frontlines followed by people over the age of 65, and the rest of the population.

Pangilinan reminded that the goal is to curb the infection, reduce deaths, and protect the healthcare system, which can only happen if those most in need of the vaccine receive it first.

Amid the scarce supply, vaccines have come in trickles in the country with the first shipment of 600,000 doses of China’s Sinovac arriving last Sunday followed by 487,200 doses from AstraZeneca.

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