Journalist & author Carmen Pedrosa campaigns for non-renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, says renewal means Duterte’s program of reform will be in vain

Carmen Pedrosa, journalist and author of a series of biographical books on the life of former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos urged Filipinos to support President Duterte’s war versus the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN in a viral Facebook post.

Pedrosa said that more than the legalities, the President needs all the support from the public in order to finally get rid of ABS-CBN, if we hope to see the country progress not just economically but also politically.

My case about ABS-CBN is not about legalities. The government’s lawyers can tackle that but it needs public support. It is not just me but all those who want a more responsible media should support President Duterte’s bold move not to renew its franchise. It has been long enough that ABS-CBN had a franchise that was used for the political and economic interests of the Lopezes.

Pedrosa said ABS-CBN represents oligarchic politics, long been used for the political and economic interests of the Lopezes by giving masses low values and encourage ignorance. “It was the template of the oligarchic politics to give the masses low values and encourage ignorance. ABS-CBN is a partisan media to serve Lopez’s business interests. Other oligarchs have followed suit. The Lopez’s ABS-CBN use of media became the template for other oligarchs against the welfare of people. Have media, have power – quash institutions and regulatory bodies if necessary for their benefit.

Pedrosa said ABS-CBN is powerful, it destroys democracy and its fundamental tenet. “It accumulates so much power it destroys democracy and its fundamental tenet that sovereignty is for the people, by the people and of the people. It is the cause we must fight for.”

Pedrosa said that renewing ABS-CBN’s franchise will put Duterte’s campaign to change Oligarchic structure of our society in vain. “Duterte’s campaign is to change the structure of our oligarchic society. It will be in vain if the ABS-CBN franchise is renewed and returned to such power.”

Pedrosa told netizens and the public to likewise embrace President Duterte’s campaign against the Oligarchy in the country because if the ABS-CBN’s franchise is renewed, all his efforts will go to waste. “For all of us that should be the case against ABS-CBN. It is a purveyor of all that media should not be. If its franchise is renewed the Duterte’s program of reform will be in vain.”

Pedrosa said the case against ABS-CBN isn’t about press freedom or extending its franchise. It is about getting rid of an entity that is blocking our progress, our desire to have a well-functioning society. “The case against ABS-CBN is not about press freedom or extending its
franchise. If we get into convoluted discussions about these, we miss
the point. We are dealing with an entity that is inimical to a well-functioning society. This is the opportunity we should take to finally get rid of a hindrance to the progress of our country and the education of our masses.”

Pedrosa called the Lopezes “rent-seeking” family. According to her, the family patriarch Eugenio Lopez established a formidable media assets among them ABS-CBN. “As I posted in my FB blog, Alfred McCoy in his book “The Anarchy of Families” the Lopezes are a rent-seeking family. From his wealth as a sugar baron the family patriarch Eugenio Lopez established formidable media assets among them ABS-CBN.”

Pedrosa said Eugenio Lopez use his powerful media assets to defeat former President Marcos in their bitter war over the spoils of power. But Marcos was unlike other Presidents, he declared Martial law to destroy Eugenio Lopez. “’Using his formidable media assets, he defeated the country’s president, Ferdinand Marcos, in a bitter battle over the spoils of power.’ But unlike other presidents before him, Marcos was a different kettle of fish. Marcos declared martial law and destroyed Eugenio Lopez.”

Pedrosa wrote that the story of Eugenio Lopez is a perfect example of the connection between state power and private wealth in the Philippines. “More vividly than any other, the story of Eugenio Lopez illustrates the close connection between state power and private wealth in the Philippines. For over thirty years, Lopez had used presidential patronage to secure subsidized government financing and dominate state-regulated industries, thereby amassing the largest private fortune in the Philippines.”

According to Pedrosa, the theory of rent can help us understand the dynamics between the Filipino elites and the Philippine government. “The theory of “rents” can help us explain some significant aspects of this complex relationship between Filipino elites and the Philippine state. As defined by James Buchanan, rents appear when the state uses regulation to restrict “freedom of entry” into the market.”

Pedrosa argued that these restrictions create a monopoly which negatively impact the economy while enriching the favored businesses. Competition for such monopolies called “rent seeking” can result in intense conflict. “If these restrictions create a monopoly, the economic consequences are
decidedly negative-slowing growth and enriching a few favoured
entrepreneurs. Competition for such monopolies, a political process
called “rent seeking,” can produce intense conflict.”

Pedrosa remarked that the Lopezes used the same template from the time of Marcos to Aquino. But it was during Cory’s time the Lopezes recovered all their assets and power. According to her, the Filipinos have been fooled that the EDSA People Power would bring change. Instead, with the help of Lopez media assets, her Presidency was passed in to Noynoy. Knowing what we know now, we can’t do much because they have the franchise and can do whatever they want to do with it. “From Marcos to Aquino, the Lopezes used the same template. It was through Cory as president that they got back all their assets and power. From the Marcos Lopez it became Aquino-Lopez. We had been fooled that the EDSA people power revolution which made Cory Aquino president would bring change. Instead with the help of Lopez media her presidency was passed on to her son, Noynoy. We were misled by the rhetoric of the “revolution” and reluctant to admit that we were once again fooled thanks to the power of the Lopez-owned media. We need only review ABN-CBN’s role in Noynoy’s campaign. This may have had the help of foreigners but we deserved it because we fell for this “freedom of the press” accusations they churned. But what could we have done with the power of Lopez media. Not much. It had the franchise and whatever they choose to do with it.”

Pedrosa urged the public to focus on the issue, whether to extend its franchise and the harm that ABS-CBN’s media power is capable of doing to our nation. “Whether we should extend its franchise is what we should focus on – the harm that ABS-CBN’s media power is capable of doing to our nation building.”

Pedrosa shared the story of the Lopez patriarch allegedly told those within their inner circles that they can make and unmake the President of the country. Pedrosa agreed when ABS-CBN said it is family. She said extension of the ABS-CBN franchise means we back to square 1. “Those in the inner circle at the height of Lopez power heard its patriarch say “We can make and unmake” the president of the country. And they are right when they say it is family. Extend the franchise to the family and we will be back to square 1.”

In case you haven’t heard, the Pedrosas went into exile before Martial Law was declared and the story was it, Marcos was the culprit. In this FB post, Pedrosa debunked it. Instead, she blamed the Lopez patriarch for their exile. “I did work with another Lopez-owned media – the defunct Manila Chronicle as an underpaid reporter. I am not speculating, I knew first hand that the family used its media power against those that displeased them. As I have narrated in my book “The Verdict” it was not Imelda Marcos who pushed us to exile. It was the Lopezes. My
husband, the late Ambassador Alberto Pedrosa was an executive of the Lopez-owned MERALCO. He was caught in a corporate struggle and ordered to go abroad. My family and I were crushed by the two warring sides. By the time martial law was declared we were out of the country. Ironically the Lopez bullying was what saved us from imprisonment.”

Pedrosa shared the story of her daughter who went to work for ABS-CBN. She was sent by ABS-CBN to CNN headquarters as visiting broadcaster. CNN liked what they saw of her daughter and offered her a job for an opening in CNN Hongkong. “No matter. When we returned to the Philippines after a long exile, my daughter Veronica wanted to return home and see what it was like. She applied on her own to ABS-CBN. After a few months, she was sent to the CNN headquarters in Atlanta as a visiting broadcaster. Broadcasting with an international character was then in Ted Turner’s mind. They saw in Veronica a perfect candidate to recruit her for the opening of CNN International in Hongkong a Spanish name, a British background and accent but a Filipina. That’s it. They decided to hire her.”

Pedrosa said her daughter was reluctant to accept it right away. She went home to formally tell Gabby Lopez personally. He said go if you want but spiced it up with an insult. “But Veronica was reluctant to accept it offhand. She was working with ABS-CBN and came to Atlanta on their behest. It also paid her fare. She told them she would go home to formally resign and advise Gabby Lopez. Of course, he was flummoxed. Are you mad? Lopez said go if you want and added an insult “ I don’t really know how good you are anyway, but I swear you will never find a job again in the Philippines.” (She now writes a column every Saturday in ‘From a Distance’ Philippine STAR).

Pedrosa’s daughter went on to work for the biggest news network in the world like CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera. “Veronica left for CNN Atlanta, then to Hongkong, the BBC in London and Al-Jazeera in Kuala Lumpur. CNN Atlanta did pay her fare to leave her job at ABS-CBN.”

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Source: Carmen Pedrosa

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  1. Luis Natividad February 28, 2020

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