ABS-CBN violated labor laws – Bello
The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Wednesday disputed the claim of ABS-CBN Corp. that it has been found compliant with labor laws.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello lll blasted the claim of the network’s lawyers and officials during a hearing at the House of Representatives that the Labor department found the network compliant with labor laws.
“It is therefore patently misleading to attribute to us the claim that ABS-CBN is a compliant company. In fact, there are 67 pending cases against the company in the NLRC and the various courts,” it added, referring to the National Labor Relations Commission.
Bello said ABS-CBN misrepresented its position to deceive the lawmakers in its bid to gain congressional approval for a new franchise.
“We will not let this pass,” DoLE said as it warned the broadcast firm’s counsels against wrongfully presenting policy issuances of the department to the advantage of their client.
The Labor department pointed out that the cited rule governing the employee-employer relationship in the broadcast industry 40 years ago is no longer aligned with the provisions of the Labor Code.
“We also find most detestable the deliberate manner by which Policy Instruction No. 40 issued by the then Labor Minister in 1979 was volunteered to the House committee as the basis for the work arrangement in ABS-CBN. Misleading as it is, it conveniently leaves the impression that the policy was that of current Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd,” the department said.
The National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday dealt ABS-CBN another big blow when it issued cease and desist orders (CDOs) against the firm’s subsidiaries Sky Cable Corp, and its TV Plus channels, claiming that they were covered by a CDO it issued on May 5, 2020.
On Wednesday, an official of the network denied allegations that it violated tax laws.
“ABS-CBN has paid its proper taxes every year contrary to the allegations, there has not been a single year where ABS-CBN has paid zero taxes,” the network’s chief financial officer, Ricardo Tan, told lawmakers during the hearing of its franchise application.
Tan said in 2018, ABS-CBN, as a group, paid a total of P5.2 billion in various taxes, including P465 million in income taxes.
Bureau of Internal Revenue Assistant Commissioner Manuel Mapoy confirmed that the network paid its taxes for the past three years.
Tan added that the company has contributed largely to the Philippine economy with a total of P71.5 billion in taxes paid from 2003 to 2019.
Meanwhile, Buhay party-list Rep. Jose “Lito” Atienza Jr. urged the leadership of the Committee on Legislative Franchises not to waste time and money and act on the application of ABS-CBN for a franchise.
“We should act on this issue now. We have spent so much time on this, this is the ninth hearing and we have exhaustively tackled all the relevant issues,” Atienza said.
“We have heard all the arguments and have allowed all those against ABS-CBN to air their side on several matters, including Constitutional issues. The questions have been nothing less than repetitious, and prosecutorial in tone. This prompts us to ask — is this a congressional hearing or a prosecutorial procedure? The bias is obvious and up to this point in time, they have not proven anything. How long will we make them wait? These are not normal times we are in, and the sooner we act on this, the better for everyone,” he added.
Atienza said ABS-CBN “has been a steady and reliable source of information.”
“Shutting down the network’s operations would deprive millions of our kababayan of access to vital information,” he said.