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  1. There is no constitutional provision in the 1987 Constitution which was violated when the premises, facilities and operations of ABS-CBN were returned in 1986 by the Republic of the Philippines under the Cory Aquino presidency to the Lopez family as majority owners.

  2. The alleged violation is based on the claim that the Lopez family did not pay any compensation to the Republic of the Philippines for reacquiring ABS-CBN. This argument is flawed because:

    1. The ownership of the Lopez family of ABS-CBN has long been established, even before the declaration of Martial Law, and this unchallenged ownership continued up to the post EDSA People Power Revolution;

    2. Since the Lopez family as majority owners of ABS-CBN is the aggrieved party, it stands to reason that it should be the one to be compensated for the illegal seizure of ABS-CBN during martial law and the short takeover of the same by the Ramos-Enrile forces in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power revolution, which latter brief takeover was subsequently permitted by the Lopez family only for the duration of the “crisis” or “emergency”.

  3. Granting arguendo that there was any violation, the infraction was only civil in nature. However, any challenge or action has long prescribed after 34 years have elapsed following the subject return or reacquisition. The longest prescriptive period for filing an action under the New Civil Code is 30 years for recovery of real property after the cause of action has accrued. In this case, 34 years have passed, for which reason prescription has irrevocably set it. But more importantly, no action has been filed questioning the subject return of ABS-CBN operations, facilities and premises to the Lopez family. 

  4. The return of ABS-CBN to the Lopez family was not premature. It was demandable and seasonable since the Lopez family is the unquestioned majority owners of ABS-CBN.

  5. The return was covered by legal orders like:

    1. Tacit approval by the Office of the President granting the request of Sen. Lorenzo Tañada in a letter dated April 17, 1986 that the operations, facilities and premises of ABS-CBN be returned to the Lopez family as subsequently ratified by the subsequent action of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), an office created by the first Executive Order of President Corazon Aquino under E.O. No. 1 dated 28 February 1986.

    2. Consequently, an Order dated June 18, 1986 of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) was issued for the return of the pertinent frequencies to ABS-CBN Corporation which effectively allowed the resumption of ABS-CBN operations and the return of the facilities and premises of ABS-CBN.

  6. The reacquisition of ABS-CBN by the Lopez family is also confirmed by the following:

    1. “Agreement to Arbitrate” dated October 6, 1987. The principal purpose of this Agreement is not to establish the right of ownership of the Lopez family over ABS-CBN because this has been correctly and previously acknowledged by the Republic of the Philippines in the prior actions of the PCGG and the Office of the President. The main objectives of the Agreement to Arbitrate are (i) to effect the full return of the facilities and premises of ABS-CBN by PTV-4 as the government television channel, and (ii) to settle the monetary claims of ABS-CBN for the government’s use and operation of ABS-CBN’ facilities, equipment and premises, more particularly by the government channel PTV-4.

      Although the “Whereas” clause referred to the two prior requests as a backgrounder for the return of ABS-CBN’s operations, facilities and premises, eventually the arbitral proceedings dealt on the return by PTV-4 of ABS-CBN facilities and premises it was occupying and the accrued rentals.

      This factual circumstance was confirmed by the SC in Gascon vs. Joker Arroyowhen it narrated that: 

      “On 17 April 1986, the Lopez family, through counsel, ex-Senator Lorenzo Tañada, requested President Aquino to order the return to the Lopez family of TV Stations 2 and 4.

      “On 13 June 1986, the Lopez family made a written request to the PCGG for the return of TV Station Channel 2. On 18 June 1986, the PCGG approved the return of TV Station Channel 2 to the Lopez family. The return was made on 18 October 1986.

      Thereafter, the Lopez family requested for the return of TV Station Channel 4. Acting upon the request, respondent Executive Secretary, by the authority of the President, entered into with the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, represented by its President, Eugenio Lopez, Jr., an ‘Agreement to Arbitrate’”. 

      This latter narration confirmed that subsequently, the request of ABS-CBN Broadcast Corporation was limited to the return of TV Station-Channel 4 or the facilities being used by PTV4, and the true import of the Agreement to Arbitrate was for the full return by PTV-4 of the facilities and premises of ABS-CBN because the return and operations of ABS-CBN over Channel 2 had been previously effected.

      Finally, however, the Arbitral Decision was limited to the money claims of ABS-CBN because during the pendency of the arbitral proceedings, PTV-4 gradually returned the facilities and premises of ABS-CBN which it was using and occupying.

    2. The decision of the Supreme Court in Gascon vs. Joker Arroyo (G.R. No. 78387, October 16, 1989) wherein the High Court ruled that the Agreement to Arbitrate is legal.

    3. The grant of provisional authority by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in favor of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. 

    4. The Arbitral Decision dated May 23, 1995 approving the Compromise Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation under which the Republic obligated itself to pay ABS-CBN the amount of P97,580,000 payable in a non-cash basis like tax credit for the use of the government of the facilities and premises of ABS-CBN. 

      Let me underscore that the Decision or Arbitral Award approved the Compromise Agreement because a compromise agreement must precede the Arbitral Award. If the arbitral decision is before the compromise agreement executed by the parties, then that would be the time to proclaim that the cart is placed before the horse.

    5. Decision dated June 23, 1995 of the Makati Regional Trial Court confirming and approving the subject compromise agreement referred to in the earlier Arbitral Decision. 

  7. No challenge, petition or complaint against the aforesaid proceedings confirmatory of the return of ABS-CBN to the Lopez family has been interposed up to now. 

  8. Any challenge to the reacquisition by the Lopez family of ABS-CBN has been put to rest when RA No. 7966 was enacted on March 30, 1995 granting ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation a legislative franchise for 25 years.

  9. Verily, in view of all the foregoing, the ownership of the Lopez family of ABS-CBN is a non-issue before the joint committee hearings.


Thank you, Joint Committee Chairmen.