‘You took out our right to seek justice’: Bela Padilla speaks up on ABS-CBN shutdown

‘You took out our right to seek justice’: Bela Padilla speaks up on ABS-CBN shutdown
'What does the law do for us, the citizens, the taxpayers?' The Kapamilya actress shares her thoughts on the 'dura lex sed lex' argument.

MANILA, Philippines – Several Kapamilya stars came together for the Laban, Kapamilya Facebook live stream on Friday night, May 8, to air their sentiments about the ABS-CBN shutdown that happened on Tuesday evening, May 5.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against media giant ABS-CBN, compelling it to stop operating immediately – a sudden move that Kapamilya actress Bela Padilla lamented about during the livestream.


Tuesday marked more than 50 days of quarantine for Bela, 29, who is spending the lockdown alone at home.  It was during this time, when she only left the house once or twice a week for essential errands, after a quick trip to the bakery nearby, that everything changed. 

When she arrived home, Jericho Rosales, one of her formers co-stars, told her to turn on her television.

“Noong binuksan ko TV ko, in two minutes, nag-sign off ang ABS CBN (When I opened my television, in two minutes, ABS-CBN signed off),” she said. 

“Hindi po ako makagalaw after ng sign-off. Sa 50 plus days na mag-isa ako sa bahay, ‘yun po ang pinakatahimik na moment para sa akin (I couldn’t move after the sign-off. In the 50 plus days I’ve been alone at home, that was the quietest moment for me),” Bela added.


She then recalled how as a child, seeing the ABS-CBN sign-off on TV meant that you were way past your bedtime. She said Tuesday night’s sign-off was completely different. 

“Ang parating sa akin ay lagot ka, wala na ‘yung pamilya mo. Wala na ang tahanan mo. Wala na source of information mo. Wala na ‘yung tulong na sana makakarating sa ‘yo. For the first time in 50 plus days, para sa taong di naman matatakutin o masyadong madamdamin, natakot po ako,” she said.

(It was like a warning that I’m done for – your family is gone. Your home is gone. Your source of information is gone. Help won’t be able to reach you anymore. For the first time in 50 plus days, for someone not easily scared or too emotional, I got scared.)

She took the time to ask how her fellow Kapamilyas stuck at home have been – mothers whose children do not live with them anymore, or grandparents who depend on Channel 2 for their entertainment. 

“Gusto ko silang kamustahan, sa sobrang tahimik ng bahay nila ngayon  (I want to check up on them, especially now that they’re homes are so quiet),” she said.


Family ties 

She recalled how much ABS-CBN meant to her grandparents back when she was younger – especially to her late grandpa Papa Pio, who would tell Bela about the ABS-CBN programs he’d watch during the day. Bela lived with her lolo and lola during her first workshop with ABS-CBN, when she was 16 years old. 

One of Bela’s dreams was to finally land an acting gig, so that her Papa Pio could watch her on TV. Unfortunately, she got her first role the same time he passed away. “Alam ko kung nasa bahay siya ngayon at kung buhay siya, nakatutok siya sa ABS-CBN ngayon  (I know that if he were alive and at home right now, he would be glued to ABS-CBN right now),” she said.

She remembered how she’d watch the morning news on Channel 2 as a student waiting for the school bus, as well as Sineskwela. A lot of Filipinos watch dramas during lunch, she said, as well as TV Patrol while cooking dinner. 

“Sa gabi, pinapanood natin si Cardo, kung paano niya kailangan depensahan ang kailangan idepensehan (At night, we watch Cardo and how he defends what needs to be defended),” she said, referring to the popular “Ang Probinsyano” character.

She also mentioned how much ABS-CBN’s employees meant to her – Bela said that she has attended more birthdays of the people on the set (cameramen, utility boys) than her friends, and has become the godmother of her cameramen’s children more often than her own friends’. 

“Bukod po sa amin, nangangamba po ako sa mga kaibigan ko sa likod ng camera, kung kumusta sila ngayon. Dinagdagan inyo po ;yung walang trabaho (Aside from me, I’m worried about my friends behind the camera and how they are. You added to the number of people unemployed in the country),” Bela added.

“Ang ABS-CBN po ang pamilya ko noong nagdesisyon ako magtrabaho at magtrabaho. Noong tinabi ko ang pagbubuo ng sarili kong pamilya, ang ABS-CBN ang pinili kong pamilya. Kaya nalulungkot po ako kasi feeling ko pinatayan niyo po kami ng ilaw. Pinalabas niyo kami sa aming bahay at pinaghihiwalayan niyo kami,” she said.

(ABS-CBN was my family when I decided to work hard. When I decided to set aside my plans to have a family of my own, I chose ABS-CBN to become my family. That’s why I’m sad – I feel like you turned off our lights. You forced us out of our homes and separated us from one another).

“NTC, hindi ko po alam ano ‘yung tumakbo sa isip ‘nyo noong May 5. ‘Yun lang po. Sana po bigyan ‘nyo po kami ng oras, o avenue, para makumustahan namin ang mga Kapamilya namin,” she said. 

(NTC, I don’t know what was running through your heads last May 5. That’s it. I hope you give us the time or avenue to check up on our Kapamilyas).

Bela also addressed the networks bashers.

“Kung tatanggalin natin lahat ng emosyon natin (If we remove all our emotions), we deserve to say, and that they’re all valid. You always say, ‘dura lex sed lex’ – the law may be harsh, but that is the law – that is the end of your argument all the time,” she said.

“It’s the same way we can always say a spoon is a spoon, a paintbrush is a paintbrush. What is a spoon for, a paintbrush? We are trying to paint a bigger picture.  So, what does the law stand for here?” she added in a mix of Filipino and English.

Bela said that the “law is supposed to give out justice.” 

“The fact of the matter is, on May 5, justice was not served for 11,000 Kapamilyas and the people who depend on ABS-CBN for information and entertainment,” she added.

“You took out our right to seek out justice. For me, we don’t end our arguments with ‘the law is the law.’ It’s ‘what does the law do for us, the citizens, the taxpayers?'”

Laban, Kapamilya! also included ABS-CBN stars Judy Ann Santos, Bianca Gonzalez, Boy Abunda, Kim Chiu, Coco Martin, Cherry Pie PIcache, Kuya Kim Atienza, John Prats, and many others. – Rappler.com

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