House to probe condonation of ABS-CBN P1.6B loans

THE House committees on legislative franchises and on good government  and public accountability on Monday moved to investigate the alleged  condonation by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) of the  P1.6 billion loans made by the Lopez group of companies, which hold considerable ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation’s shares.

During Monday’s joint panel hearing, Dumper party-list Rep. Claudine Bautista said the joint panel should probe the matter to determine if the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation allegedly benefited from the condoned loans.

“I move that this committee include this matter as one of the issues  to be tackled specifically whether or not ABS-CBN and the Lopez group  of companies unjustly benefited from the loans condoned by the DBP to  the prejudice of this government,” said Bautista.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor seconded the motion of  Bautista, prompting the joint panel to grant the request for inquiry.

With this, Bautista also sought the presence of the DBP  representatives during the hearing and bring with them relevant  documents on the issue.

“We have to look into the legitimacy and the activities of its major  stockholders and its affiliate companies because these entities are  the ones in control of the company,” said Bautista.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago asked the joint panel to investigate  the Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) of other television networks after Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, the chairman of the House  committee on good government and public accountability, observed that  GMA-7’s PDRs is almost the same with ABS-CBN.

“Kanina sinabi ni Chairman Alvarado, all the PDRs of all major  broadcasting companies are almost the same like sa GMA and ABS-CBN.  The only difference is the price,” said Violago. “In aid of  legislation, in the near future sana, maybe we can also investigate  ‘yung sa PDRs ng ibang broadcasting companies the way we investigate  the PDRs of ABS-CBN.”

“Binasa ko ‘yung mga PDRs, mukhang ang pagkakaiba lamang ay ‘yung  presyo doon sa PDRs ng ABS-CBN,” Sy-Alvarado told the joint panel in  the hearing.

Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla underscored the need to file a  resolution to give way to the inquiry.

“That is for a member of the House to file the corresponding  resolution on that matter. In the meantime, we will abide by the  investigation that we are conducting right now,” said Remulla.