Malacañang has no reaction to the return of some ABS-CBN shows to free-to-air television after sealing a deal with the television network of Jesus Is Lord Church founder and Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque described ABS-CBN as a “content provider,” adding that it is a distinct line of business that does not require a franchise to operate.
“We have no reaction to it because they’re a content provider,” Roque said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source.
However, he said that it is Villanueva’s TV network that would be subject to franchise regulation.
“For all intended purposes, it is Zoe that will be subject to regulation because Zoe is the franchise holder,” Roque said.
ABS-CBN will be airing select shows and movies starting October 10 on the newly rebranded “A2Z,” previously known as Zoe TV Channel 11 or Zoe TV.
The deal between the Kapamilya network and Zoe Broadcasting Network, Inc. will allow Filipinos to watch their favorite programs that became inaccessible on TV after ABS-CBN’s franchise was denied in Congress.
“So I guess the fans of Probinsyano and the other soap operas can look forward to them on Zoe TV,” he said.
Asked if ABS-CBN’s comeback to free TV was mentioned when Villanueva led a pray-over for President Rodrigo Duterte last week, Roque said he had no personal knowledge.
“I wouldn’t know. I was also not at the meeting. I get my orders on what to say from the President himself, which spares me from having to go to all the meetings. Otherwise, I won’t have a life,” he said.
ABS-CBN ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order.
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Legislative Franchises, on July 10, junked ABS-CBN’s franchise bid for another 25 years in a 70-11 vote.
The panel denied the franchise application of ABS-CBN to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines.