SAGIP Party List Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (File photo)

MANILA – SAGIP Party List Representative Rodante Marcoleta on Wednesday called on the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to investigate the reported joint venture between media firms ABS-CBN Corp. and TV5.

In an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas, Marcoleta said the joint venture transaction between the two media companies should be looked into for possible violation of the anti-trust law.

"Ang nakikita ko parang (circumvention) ng batas yung gagawin nila na madaliang joint venture between ABS-CBN and TV5 (What I see is some kind of circumvention of the law in this sudden joint venture between ABS-CBN and TV5)," he said.

He said the PCC must review the joint venture to prevent a monopoly or consolidation of market power that would lessen competition and eventually be detrimental to consumers.

“TV 5 malaki yan, pagkatapos ABS-CBN, mamomonopolize ang industry dito. Wala bang say dito ang Philippine Competition Commission? Hindi naman ganun, kaya nga tayo naglatag ng ganitong agency para tingnan ang lahat ng kapakanan ng mga apektadong sektor. Magiging monopoly ito kung tutuusin mo diba? (TV5, that's big, as well as ABS-CBN. The [media] industry would be monopolized. Does the Philippine Competition Commission have any say on this? This shouldn't be the case. That's why we established such an agency to look after the affected sectors. This could eventually become a monopoly, right?),” Marcoleta said.

Last week, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) revealed the status of the joint venture between ABS-CBN and TV5 is in the "closing stages".

“We have been having discussions with them for over a year. But it is fair to characterize it as we’re in the closing stages,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said TV5 will own 65 percent, while the remaining 35 percent will go to ABS-CBN.

During the same interview, Marcoleta also urged the NTC to investigate ABS-CBN's possible violations regarding its franchise and impose concomitant administrative fines as a result of such violations, adding that the agency could launch a motu proprio probe.

"Sa totoo nyan mayroon akong resolution na di palang nabibigyan ng panahon, kwinenta ko nga yung value ng administrative fine na sa akin talaga ay dapat lamang na singilin. Yun na nga base na rin sa mga napatunayang mga paglabag. Sana ang NTC ay wag naman magpakatahimik sa isyu na ito (I have a resolution that was not fully acted upon. I already computed the value of the administrative fine that I believe should really be imposed based on the proven violations. I hope NTC will not be silent on this) ," he said.

To recall, Congress was unable to renew ABS-CBN’s congressional franchise before its expiration date on May 4, 2020.

ABS-CBN, upon the directive of the NTC’s shutdown order, ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, 2020.

The previous House hearings have exhaustively discussed the network’s franchise issues, including the citizenship of ABS-CBN chair emeritus Gabby Lopez; the possible violation of the constitutional limits on foreign ownership; reported labor and tax violations; and other violations of the terms of its legislative franchise. (PNA)