May 26, 2019


There's a win-win solution, actually.

While at the wake of my mentor Jojo A. Robles, I had a conversation with a friend who happens to be a talent at ABS-CBN She told me she doesn't agree with me with my stance on ABS-CBN prospective closure.

I will conceal my friend's identity for her own protection. For purposes of discussion, I'll call her "Sunset".

My friend was actually referring to article "Angel Locsin v. Jimmy Bondoc: THINK, ANGEL, THINK!", where I basically grilled ABS-CBN actress Angel Locsin for her poorly-informed rebuke of singer Jimmy Bondoc's earlier post.


Locsin was reacting to Bondoc's post where the latter said he's "excited to see the biggest tv network close down" after describing the network as "a snake pit, where success is based on politics and sexual favors."

Jimmy didn't mention ABS-CBN, but I think we all know what he really meant.

Several camps have alleged that bullying, sexual harassment, and fraud are rampant in ABS-CBN, and I personally encourage victims to come forward and file complaints.

Gretchen Fullido blazed the trail, and she's finding much success right now after a Quezon City Court indicted news anchor Ces Drilon and a couple of other ABS-CBN network executives for the libel Gretchen Filed.


Going back to what Sunset was saying, she said that while Jimmy may be justified in raising several important issues, Jimmy should have been more circumspect in the words that he used.

Sunset explained that Jimmy, instead of just expressing his disgust over the alleged crimes happening within the media firm, insulted thousands of innocent workers who work there.

I think I got her point, and I think her point is valid.

Jimmy seems to have adopted a scorched earth strategy when he wrote that statement: instead of simply criticizing the network's owners and the corrup person inside it, his use of the words "excited to see the biggest tv network close down", while striking, may indeed be a tad too much.

Let me explain why.


Just like Pres. Rody Duterte, I want the Lopezes to pay back the billions of pesos they owe the government, the same billions that may prevent the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise next year. And the government pressuring the Lopezes into paying back the loans need not, and likely will not, result to ABS-CBN's closure.The fact of the matter, however, is that there are so many ways to deal with that issue without requiring ABS-CBN to close down:

FIRST: The Lopezes can simply pay the money back, similar to the what Mighty Corporation did a few years ago. The Lopezes owe the government is a lot less than what Mighty had to pay back so it should be easier to settle.

If that happens, then closure would be unnecessary. Otherwise, this leads us to...

SECOND: Should the Lopez Group lack the necessary liquidity to settle the debts in time, they can sell off assets to meet the requirement. The Lopez Group is worth billions of pesos' so while it's true that a few billion pesos will hurt its balance sheets, I doubt that it's enough to run the company into the ground.

If that happens, then closure would be unnecessary. Otherwise, this leads us to...

THIRD: In the assumption that they cannot (or unwilling to) pay, the government can just added pressure by not renewing its franchise.

If the Lopezes yield then finito. Otherwise...

FOURTH: I've heard from the grapevine that the Lopezes have managed to acquire an obscure TV station with an active franchise as a Plan B in case ABS-CBN doesn't get renewed. However, I have checked various TV franchises and I see that they contain a Non-Transferability Clause which, in simpler terms, means no part of a TV franchise can be tranferred to anyone.

Should ABS-CBN insist on using the said franchise to legalize its operations, Congress can simply cancel that other franchise as its well within its powers to do so.

FIFTH: Should the Lopezes play dirty by bringing the issue to the Supreme Court, I can so far see only two things happening...
A. The High Court respects the separation of powers, so that it will not interfere with Congress' decision to revove that obscure network's franchise, or, 
B. The High Court gives the case due course, then PRRD can in theory just play as dirty as ABS-CBN. After all, PRRD would have already appointed 11 out of the 15 SC Justices by end of 2019, a year before ABS-CBN's current franchise expires.
The Lopezes should be well aware of the fourth and fifth points so if I were them, I would just pay back what I owe to spare me the trouble. That is, whichever way things go, it seems that the Lopezes will eventually end up paying, and paying resolves the issue.


The worst-case scenario that I can see is the Lopez Family selling all or part of its 55% stake at ABS-CBN to someone else, i.e. ABS-CBN continues operating albeit with a new set of owners.

Based on ABS-CBN's 2018 General Information Sheet, the Lopez Group owns around 55% of ABS-CBN, or about 481 million common shares. That's worth about Php 9 billion using today's ABS-CBN share price of P18.60.

As far as I know, ABS-CBN owes the government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines Php 1.67 billion. Adding possible surcharges and penalties, I think Php 9 billion is more than enough to pay the loans back. 

The Lopezes, should they lack sufficiently liquidity today, can just self half of their stake and they'll have enough. The Lopezes may also opt to sell their almost one billion preferred shares, worth over Php 18 billion. They even opt to sell a mixture of both commo and preferred stocks. Moreover, the Lopezes may also secure a bank loan to finance the debt repayment, thereby avoiding the need to lose any control over the firm. 


Whichever way, it is clear here that while the repayment of the DBP loan may hurt the Lopezes, it is extremely unlikely that ABS-CBN will close down just because of it. 

Thus, I think that it was unnecessary for Jimmy to go as far as expressing his excitement of ABS-CBN's supposed closure. While we couldn't care less about how rich (or less rich) the Lopezes will be, we should also think about how the lowly salaried employees will feel as soon as they hear news that the network is about to close shop, even if it it likely won't.

Like President Duterte, I am a very practical person: I'd rather have erring citizens pay stuff back than crush them because latter doesn't really do anyone any good.

The point here is this: Jimmy may have gone overboard when he raised the issue of closure. If I were him, I would've said "I am excited to see one of the richest abusive oligarchs fall down" instead. That way, he would not have caused undue worry among the thousands of less affluent employees of the station. 

I myself take extra care when posting statements so I can minimize collateral damage.

Truth be told, I think it's safe to say that most ABS-CBN employees don't care who owns ABS-CBN, as long as they have a job, such as the single mother that relies solely on her ABS-CBN job to feed her five kids. Meanwhile, the government is after the Lopezes for their unpaid debts and not the Lopezes' employees. 

Hence, it would've been so much better if Jimmy focused solely on the Lopezes and the Lopezes alone. After all, it's the Lopezes who didn't pay back the loans and not their lowly employees.

Jimmy should've used more precise verbiage, as opposed to one that attacked not only his intended targets, but also those who he wants to protect. 

As for Angel, I stand by my statement that if she insists on inserting herself into politically-charged issues, I highly suggest that she read up a bit first. [ThinkingPinoy]


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