After two months since the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) declared a cease-and-desist order against ABS-CBN, the fight continues on for the network. With joint committee hearings spanning 12 sessions, the discussions have touched on a range of topics, from the actual citizenship of chair emeritus Gabby Lopez, and tax-related issues to the network’s supposed political bias.
Just as what might be expected from the duration of these hours-long talks, certain points brought up have raised some eyebrows for the viewing public. And, for some reason, there was a lot of talk about telenovelas. And we mean a lot.
While the country mourns for ABS-CBN’s fate today, we take a look back at some moments that made us question the theatrics of it all—or simply put, the bits that make some folks go “WTF.”
All the times Rep. Abante called out telenovelas for “morality issues”
House Minority Leader Benny Abante questioned the “morality” of the network’s content, citing several telenovelas in the process. Notable picks include the Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla’s “Pangako Sa ’Yo” for its use of “foul language,” James Reid’s striptease scene in “On The Wings of Love” and James and Nadine Lustre’s “steamy” car love scene in “Till I Met You.”
Aside from Abante’s qualms against these telenovela scenes, the congressional representative also called out Anne Curtis’ 2013 “wet performance” on ASAP, a “nude painting” task in “Pinoy Big Brother” as well as a “degrading” scene from a 2014 episode of “It’s Showtime” involving Vice Ganda.
“Are we to assume that if given another 25 years, these are the type of programs you will continue to air?” Abante asked. “Have you forsaken contemporary Filipino cultural values and morality in favor of ratings?”
In response, ABS-CBN chief of operations for broadcast Cory Vidanes guaranteed that these are up to par with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)’s standards.
“We tell stories that teach life lessons, and our stories embody Filipino values, hard work, honesty, respect, resilience, and most of all love for fam, country and God. Ang sentro ng aming mga kwento ay ang pamilyang Pilipino,” Vidanes said. “If there are infractions, we correct them right away and definitely we apologize to the audience.”
Rep. Marcoleta’s wife is a LizQuen stan
And while House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta has been one of the vocal proponents of ABS-CBN’s shutdown—Gabby Lopez and “Panatang Makabayan,” anyone?—the congressional representative admitted that his wife is a fan of some ABS-CBN shows. Specifically, the now-canceled Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil soap, “Make It with You.”
“’Yung ‘Make it With You,’ alam ko po ’yan e. Kasi ang asawa ko ay talagang avid fan ni Enrique Gil at ’yung si Liza Soberano,” he said. “Kaya ko po napapanood ’yun, ayaw po kasi ng asawa ko na nanonood na wala siyang kasama.”
Of course, Liza and Enrique shared their response online. According to the two, they look forward to meeting the legislator and his wife. “Cute na cute po kami ni Quen doon sa ikinuwento ninyong journey ninyo na sinasamahan n’yo lagi siya, sinunusportahan n’yo po siya sa panonood ng ‘Make It With You,’” Soberano said in the video.
“And gusto lang po namin kumatok sa puso ninyo na baka sakaling mabigyan ninyo ng chance ang ABS-CBN,” she continued.
Wikipedia is an actual resource now
It’s a professor’s favorite rule of thumb, but apparently it could be neglected on the Congress floor. Folks on the internet noticed that legislator Elipidio Barzaga Jr. mentioned Wikipedia as a source during the questioning of ABS-CBN executive Aldrin Cerrado.
“Nakalagay dito sa Wikipedia,” Barzaga asked, in an inquiry regarding Studio 23 and AMCARA networks. “Tama o mali?”
“I think mali po siya,” Cerrado replied. “I have to check the information if it’s on because we don’t maintain the Wikipedia of ABS-CBN. Those are probably contributed information.”
And as we all know from our professors’ many tirades, he’s right about that last part.
Rep. Remulla calls out “cyberbullying”
After getting flak for taking notes while the national anthem was playing and blaming “ABS-CBN people” for playing it up (he forgave them, though), Cavite 7th District Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla called the internet for “cyberbullying.”
“I’d like to tell the committee that today, after my experience over the past 10 days or the past six days of being the subject of many organized attacks on social media, I have gone to the NBI to complain about the cyberbullying to my person and to other members of the House,” he said.
“Apparently, some people have employed troll farms to get to our organization. It goes without saying that most of us have an experience here about how these trolls are operating now.”
Jobert Sucaldito speaks out, Nadine Lustre fights back
Former DZMM anchor Jobert Sucaldito made waves online regarding flippant comments on suicide with regard to Nadine Lustre’s Instagram posts earlier this year, when he said, “May mga nakalagay na caption na parang gustong tumalon sa building. Sana tumalon na lang kung ganun din naman pala.”
Due to this, the showbiz anchor was then suspended from the show. On a June 29 House hearing for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, he appeared as a resource speaker. Sucaldito said that his statements came across wrong, stating that Lustre’s comments against Ricky Lo were “disrespectful.”
Two days after the hearing, Lustre shared her sentiments through Instagram Stories. “It’s messed up how you are completely unashamed of what you said. It’s never okay to push someone to commit suicide,” she posted. “I can’t believe you’re using this issue to fight our home network whose only objective is to protect us.”
Rep. Defensor suggests removing news programs
What’s one way ABS-CBN could ease back into our channels? Removing their news programs—at least, according to AnaKalusugan partylist representative Mike Defensor.
Defensor’s proposed compromise suggests that the network only air their entertainment shows in the meantime. That’s limited to variety, game shows and telenovelas.
“Personal ko ’to, I cannot speak for everyone: Kung tanggalin muna news and current affairs just because baka ma-influence ang committee,” Defensor said, noting that this is to prevent the network’s employees from losing their jobs.
“Not because we want to curtail press freedom. Pabayaan muna shows na non-political. Katulad ngayon, nagrereklamo isang kasama ko—o, naka-air na naman sila; tinira tayo,” he added.
Still, it raised red flags for those in the #DefendPressFreedom camp. Case in point: the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ statement. “The circus that has become of the House hearings into the network’s franchise are, indeed, a press freedom issue.”
Art by Tine Paz