Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo is proposing a government takeover of ABS-CBN to save the jobs of its 11,000-strong workforce.
In his May 23 column for the Manila Times, Tulfo said the government can invoke an emergency situation to justify its takeover of the embattled network.
Article 12, Section 17 of the Constitution provides that: “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.”
“Since the ABS-CBN Corp. will not be reopening anytime soon, why doesn’t the government take over the network to give the public a choice over what to listen to in news on the pandemic and save the network’s 11,000 talents and employees from going jobless?” Tulfo said.
However, Tulfo added that the Lopezes would have to be out of the picture if government were to help ABS-CBN return on air.
“Here’s my humble suggestion: Retain the present management, rank-and-file personnel and talents, but take Eugenio Gabriel ‘Gabby’ Lopez 3rd, the owner, out of the picture. Pay Gabby Lopez or whatever, but take him out because he’s the center of controversy,” he said.
ABS-CBN has been off the air since May 5, in compliance with a cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission.
The network isn’t expected to resume broadcast operations soon as the House of Representatives is only set to start hearing its franchise application on May 26.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.