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Call a spade a spade

The relationship with Lee is an example of how ABS-CBN exploited its powerful influence in government to advance its interests.




Paid communist fronts are whipping up a protest action on Friday in support of ABS-CBN in its pursuit of a broadcast franchise, which is encountering a difficult stage at the House of Representatives due to the Lopez firm’s many skeletons in the closet that are now being brought out.

Scheduled on Friday is the so-called “Rally of Ribbons — A Black Friday Protest” that will double as an anti-Duterte march.

The left-wing organizers wanted to “build a wall of love for ABS-CBN and Press Freedom” by tying “red, blue and green” ribbons, which are the network’s colors.

Among the issues that should be raised is the network’s deep involvement in the political arena, particularly its conduct in past elections when it supported its personalities to be elected to local and national positions.

Take for instance ABS-CBN newscaster Noli Boy “Kabayan” de Castro, who became Vice President during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s second term, whose close links with Globe Asiatique (GA), which gypped Pag-IBIG Funds of some P7 billion, was investigated in 2014.

The controversy took an interesting turn when “Kabayan” made an admission before the investigating panel of then Sen. JV Ejercito in a 2014 Senate probe that he endorsed an unusually huge P5 billion loan of GA head Delfin Lee when he was head of the lead shelter financing agency, Pag-IBIG Fund.

De Castro confidently strode into the Senate hearing and issued a statement that Delfin Lee’s housing schemes with the government were not special accommodations but “special projects.”

De Castro made a ridiculous claim that his so-called “township” developments were part of the government’s low-cost housing projects.

Despite the tight watch on the development of the scandal from former Vice President Jojo Binay, who was then concurrently Pag-IBIG chairman, Lee tried to harness powerful forces to negotiate with the Palace to let him off the hook in the multibillion-peso mess.

De Castro is now back with ABS-CBN, which has a foundation that had received huge support from Lee in its projects, primarily the setting up of the ABS-CBN Foundation headquarters and the Bayan ni Juan in Calauan, Laguna.

Lee also had strong tie-ups with ABS-CBN that included a partnership with the station’s reality show Pinoy Big Brother (PBB). The first PBB house was built through GA funding and was derived from a unit of St. Monique Valais, which was one of GA’s flagship projects.

Lee was also a big backer of actor Willie Revillame’s Wowowee when Revillame was still with ABS-CBN.

In the “Bigtime Pera o Bayong” game portion of the Revillame show, the most coveted prize was a GA house and lot.

ABS-CBN shows, such as Pinoy Dream Academy and Little Big Star, had Delfin Lee as a major sponsor.

ABS-CBN is owned by the Lopez family whose influence with then President Noynoy Aquino was unquestionable.

The mess, however, did have a lot of loose ends, primarily the double sale of units, which was what Delfin Lee was being primarily accused of.

Lee’s role and the influence peddling he employed to escape accountability, and his links with ABS-CBN amid the scandal and his intimacy with De Castro, who appeared to have been the link between Lee, the government and ABS-CBN, should be included in the current House probe.

The relationship with Lee is an example of how ABS-CBN exploited its powerful influence in government to advance its interests, which needed to be accounted for amid its daily appeal to the heart of Filipinos to pressure Congress into granting it another 25-year franchise.

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