It seems ABS-CBN had no choice but to face the music on the issue of the bald conflict-of-interest in Senator Grace Poe’s heading of the Senate “inquiry” into the plight of the giant media conglomerate. Poe clearly stammered her way through an interview with Davila as she defended the exercise that all but gave ABS-CBN execs a platform to launch into a Batang Yagit emotional appeal before the cameras.
Sen. Grace Poe defended herself from criticisms that she should have inhibited from participating in a Senate hearing on #ABSCBNfranchise because of conflict of interest. #ANCHeadstart pic.twitter.com/9sABTTKRKI
— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) February 26, 2020
Poe’s main argument was that she “allowed” all senators — including individuals closely associated with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, which she specifically named — to have their say on the matter and take their turn at grilling ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak.
Unfortunately Poe missed the point. The big question surrounding this Senate “inquiry” is why it was conducted to begin with. Poe had originally described the intent of this exercise as one that is “in aid of legislation”. If Davila had been a bit more cluey and took her role as a telejournalist at heart, she would have asked Poe the more confronting questions:
Is there a new legislative agenda that came out of this exercise?
What happens next?
Don’t hold your breath though. It is likely that Poe will not have had an answer to these questions had Davila asked them. That’s because no Senate “inquiry”, much less this one, on any outrage fad had ever actually yielded any outcome that aided legislation over the immediate term. The short of it is this Senate “inquiry” was meant to be no more than a televised drama to portray ABS-CBN as the key protagonist and the Duterte administration as the evil villains.
Why else would Poe, whose family fortunes are intricately entwined with that of ABS-CBN’s, be motivated to mount this circus? This circus proves just how powerful ABS-CBN really is — powerful enough enlist senators to act, not in aid of legislation, but in aid of ABS-CBN’s corporate interests.