Leave it to actress and noted philanthropist Angel Locsin to disquietingly call out ABS-CBN’s critics, while also deftly and diplomatically wishing these detractors well. (Such an angel).
This was made apparent last night when a composed Locsin took to Instagram to plead to the government to allow ABS-CBN to reopen, a few days after it was shut down due to its inability to secure a fresh broadcasting franchise.
“I won’t be complaining about my condition. I’m not as rich as my peers in the industry, but I’m OK because of your support,” the actress said in English and Filipino at the start of the eight-minute video.
While that was the case, Locsin said she was concerned for her out-of-work colleagues in the media company.
“My point is, if you can promise those people who will lose their jobs in the midst of a pandemic, if you can promise that they can receive the same wages and benefits because they’ve been working long and hard to reach that point of their career, then I will keep my mouth shut; you won’t be hearing from me. But I know that this will not happen because many are unemployed during these times,” the actress said.
Locsin also addressed Solicitor General Jose Calida, who warned the National Communications Commission (NTC) that they will face graft charges if they give a provisional license to ABS-CBN. Shortly after, the NTC issued a cease-and-desist order to ABS-CBN, which led to the company’s abrupt closure.
“[You say] let’s heal as one. To SolGen Calida, to [the] NTC, how do you expect us to heal as one if you’re inflicting pain on us?” she asked.
She added that despite Calida’s many contributions to the country, he will be most remembered for what he had done to ABS-CBN.
“[I]f you continue this decision, whatever your degree, intelligence, position, achievements, that won’t be what the public will remember. You will go down in history as the man who killed ABS-CBN, the man who crushed thousands of people amidst a pandemic. That is what we will remember, and we urge you not to let that happen,” she added.
The actress clarified that she is not criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte’s government. The president said on multiple occasions that he would block any efforts to have ABS-CBN’s franchise renewed, alleging that the company had broadcast reports critical of his administration.
“I wish our president the best. We will not be able to get through this pandemic without him. I believe that at this time that we need to unite and help each other…We are asking for a fair chance from Congress…and the right time to hear our case,” she said.
Locsin, who’s worked with the network since 2007, said that the same fairness should be extended to showbiz reporter Jobert Sucaldito, who recently claimed in an interview that the media giant was using its employees as “human shields.” Sucaldito was fired from ABS-CBN’s DZMM radio station in January, shortly after he cracked a rather tasteless suicide joke on-air while addressing actress Nadine Lustre.
While Sucaldito said he is against ABS-CBN’s shutdown, he insisted in a radio interview broadcast over the weekend that the company had treated its employees unjustly.
“What you did when you said Nadine [Lustre] should commit suicide, that was wrong… but you should be afforded the same fairness… because we all deserve a second chance,” Locsin said.
Locsin added that all she wants is for ABS-CBN to be given the opportunity to have its franchise renewed in the House of Representatives.
“We are not asking for VIP treatment, we’re just asking for fair treatment,” she said.
“What I am fighting for is for ABS-CBN to be given a franchise extension, just like what was given to other companies whose franchises have expired but was extended. [I want] Congress to hear their case. That is all,” Locsin added.