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Coco Martin should read up before talking

Once an actor steps out of the TV studio, he is no longer infallible because he is no different from anybody else.




Actors make a living by taking on character roles for popular entertainment. In the television industry, an actor who plays a protagonist in dramas can do no wrong in the eyes of his adulating fans. To them, everything he does or say is right.

The situation is different in the real world, though.

Once an actor steps out of the TV studio, he is no longer infallible because he is no different from anybody else. In real life, he ought to think before he speaks, because there is no TV director to tell him what to say, and how to say it.

Unlike in the studio set, the real world does not presume that the actor is knowledgeable. If he comments on a matter of public interest, his remarks are open to public scrutiny and may lead him to the road of public criticism.

Because the actor can reach the homes of thousands of viewers at any given instance, many households addicted to TV consider him a credible source of information, one whose word is akin to gospel truth.

While many actors are aware of the difference between the make-believe world of TV and that of real life, some are unable to, and so they continue to comport themselves in the real world as if they are still a TV program’s protagonist.

One such actor is Coco Martin who, during the heyday of ABS-CBN television teleseryes prior to 5 May 2020, enjoyed the adulation of the patrons of his serial program FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Because the program rates well among TV patrons, Martin also enjoys the lucrative compensation that expectedly goes with playing the program’s lead role. In the TV world, fame begets lots of money.

Fame also begets some kind of misplaced superiority complex on Martin, the kind that pushes him to think that like the protagonist he plays in FPJ’S Ang Probinsyano, he is right about everything he says.

That sort of thinking was recently manifested in Martin’s public statements about the current absence of ABS-CBN from the airwaves.

Martin insisted that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the closure of ABS-CBN in violation of the freedom of expression.

He also blasted President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) to reopen amid the COVID-19 crisis, while allowing the closure of ABS-CBN.

For that emotional outburst, Martin was praised by his fans and by just about everyone else with a vested interest in the continued operations of ABS-CBN. Almost overnight, he basked in his new cyber image as the critic of “ABS-CBN bashers.”

Ordinarily, Martin’s remarks should have been dismissed as a baseless view, one tolerated in a free and democratic atmosphere.

The problem, however, is that this actor’s statements are erroneous and may give the clueless among his fans the wrong impression that there is no freedom of expression in this country, and that the government has its priorities all confused.

It is necessary, therefore, to straighten out the mess this actor is creating through his unfounded public statements.

First, Martin has a credibility problem because, as a well-paid talent of ABS-CBN, he has a vested interest in keeping the network on the air. After all, no broadcasts equals no pay.

Next, Martin failed to mention that ABS-CBN is currently off the air because its legislative franchise has already expired and Congress did not renew it, and that it is illegal for a broadcast network to operate without a franchise.

He also failed to see that the NTC had to order ABS-CBN to cease operations on 5 May 2020 because the network insisted on remaining on the air even after its franchise expired on 4 May 2020.

Martin overlooked that Congress refused to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN and that there is nothing President Duterte or the NTC can do about that.

Third, unlike ABS-CBN, POGO do not need a legislative franchise to operate. Their individual licenses come not from Congress but from the Executive department through the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation. Therefore, Martin has no valid reason to suggest that President Duterte allows POGO operations to resume, but disallows ABS-CBN to resume its broadcasts.

Martin should wake up from his make-believe FPJ’S Ang Probinsyano world and do some basic reading before talking his mouth off and making senseless public statements.

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