FALSE: ABS-CBN operations ‘illegal’ for the past 25 years


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FALSE: ABS-CBN operations ‘illegal’ for the past 25 years
The post wrongly quotes Senator Lacson, who only said that a provisional permit would not be enough to keep ABS-CBN on air after its franchise expires

Claim: The operations of media giant ABS-CBN have been illegal for the past 25 years, according to Facebook page News Scoop.

On Wednesday, May 6, the page posted a video of Senator Panfilo Lacson talking about ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. The clip was 6 minutes and 51 seconds long.

The page titled the video, in all caps, “Hindi daw legal ang pag operate ng ABS-CBN sa loob ng 25 na taon (ABS-CBN’s operations in the last 25 years was illegal).”

In the description of the video, the Facebook page attributed its title to Lacson. It said: “‘Practice in the past does not make it legal.’ Ang tagal na palang expire eh tuloy tuloy padin and pag operate ([ABS-CBN’s franchise] expired a long time ago but they kept on operating).”

The video had over 1.6 million views, 24,000 shares, 32,000 reactions, and 4,500 comments as of writing.

Facebook’s monitoring tool Claim Check flagged the video for fact checkers to verify. It was reported at least 78 times for containing false information.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: In the video clip posted by News Scoop, Senator Lacson was not referring to ABS-CBN’s existing franchise but was talking about the validity of a provisional permit from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) – should Congress fail to approve ABS-CBN’s franchise on time. It was taken during the Kapihan sa Senado media forum in February.

Lacson said that without a legislative franchise, the NTC cannot issue a provisional permit to ABS-CBN even if Congress issues a joint resolution. 

“Practice cannot make a law. Kung ang letter ng law ganito, maski pina-practice ‘yan before, it cannot justify legally na gawin mo,” Lacson said. (If this is the letter of the law and you say this is how it has been practiced before, that still cannot justify the act.)

This came after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told the Senate in February that Congress may authorize the NTC to give ABS-CBN a provisional permit to continue operating after its franchise expires. He said similar cases were done in the past and that the “informal” practice persisted because there were no complaints filed.

ABS-CBN’s previous franchise was approved through Republic Act No. 7966 in 1995. It remained valid for 25 years and expired on May 4. (TIMELINE: Duterte against ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal)

Government officials also said during the Senate hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal in February that the network has not committed any breach of laws or franchise terms. (EXPLAINER: FICTAP Issues vs ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal)

ABS-CBN went off-air on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease and desist order to stop its broadcasting operations. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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