VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Gozon DID NOT ‘criticize’ ABS-CBN for ‘dragging’ GMA into franchise issue

Two YouTube channels uploaded reports on June 19 and 20 claiming GMA Network chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon has responded to alleged ABS-CBN criticism of his network and told them not to “drag” his company in the latter’s franchise renewal issue. This is erroneous.

Showbiz Fanaticz and IDØL CÀLØY’s videos twisted GMA’s June 18 statement, in which the network said it “consistently complied with all requirements” during its 70 years of broadcasting and that it sought 25-year franchising licenses in 1992 and 2017.

The two videos, which curiously had the same script read by different people, falsely quoted Gozon telling ABS-CBN, among other things, “Don’t drag us into (your problem)! We never violated anything!”

The Kapuso executive has said no such thing.

GMA Network published its statement after House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta claimed in a June 17 hearing that renewing ABS-CBN’s broadcasting license for 25 more years is a violation of Article 12 Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that a public utility company could not be granted a franchise to operate “for a longer period than fifty years.”

ABS-CBN had been broadcasting for 53 years before its franchise expired on May 4.

In response to Marcoleta, ABS-CBN legal counsel Mario Bautista said there there are over 10 television stations in the country that have franchise terms “in excess of 50 years,” including GMA, ABC 5, and IBC 13.

He also named the radio stations of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Iglesia ni Cristo, and public utility companies Meralco, PLDT, and Philippine Airlines as legislative franchise grantees that have been operating for over 50 years.

Justice Assistant Secretary Nicholas Ty, during the same House session, confirmed that the 50-year cap stated in the Constitution “pertains to the franchise itself and not to the grantee,” meaning Congress can issue multiple franchises to an applicant as long as each individual franchise does not exceed 50 years.

The misleading Youtube videos also skewed a June 19 ABS-CBN report about GMA Network’s statement from the day earlier. Nowhere in the article did the station “question” GMA’s operations, contrary to Showbiz Fanaticz and IDØL CÀLØY’s claims.

The inaccurate reports, which have collectively been viewed on YouTube over 205,000 times, surfaced as the House of Representatives continued its deliberations on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise.

At least two websites — and — republished Showbiz Fanaticz’ video and amplified its potential reach to over 3.3 million people, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

Traffic to the spurious videos largely came from FB groups PROTECT THE PRESIDENT DUTERTE and Mayor Inday Sara Duterte International Movement, and FB page Duterte News.

VERA Files Fact Check has previously flagged both Showbiz Fanaticz and Phil Daily News for purveying misleading online content.

Showbiz Fanaticz joined Youtube in November 2017, while IDØL CÀLØY was created in February 2019.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)