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ABS-CBN’s 11,000 workers should be spared from the government’s desire to settle scores with the network’s owners, the Lopez family, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday (July 12).

On her radio show, “Biserbisyong Leni,” Robredo expressed concern for ABS-CBN employees at risk of losing their jobs after the network failed to secure a congressional franchise.

She said only the Lopezes should be held liable for any violations the network was alleged to have committed.

“Sana man lang… sana man lang, kung paparusahan iyong ABS-CBN, huwag naman sanang… ‘di ba? Kung iyong galit sa may-ari, mayroong ibang paraan para papanagutin, na hindi naman sinasakripisyo iyong buhay noong maliliit,” Robredo said.

The Vice President said the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise application couldn’t have come at a worse time as finding jobs is difficult amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sana kung mayroon iyong ini-insist nilang violation—ayaw ko nang pag-usapan iyon, Ka Ely, pero sana iyong ini-insist nilang violation, pinapanagot nila na hindi sila nandamay ng maliliit. Nakakapanlumo, lalo na ginawa nila iyon at a time like this,” she said.

Voting 70-11, the House legislative franchises committee denied ABS-CBN’s franchise application due to its various alleged violations.

Among the supposed violations cited by the network’s critics include ABS-CBN’s sale of Philippine Depositary Receipts to foreign investors, its use of tax avoidance schemes and the dual citizenship of the network’s chairman emeritus, Gabby Lopez.

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