New House Minority leader Joseph Stephen Paduano sought to investigate the resumption of ABS-CBN’s daily programming thanks to a deal made with licensed TV station ZOE Broadcasting Network, which was recently rebranded to A2Z Channel 11.
He asked the National Telecommunications Commission as well as the Bureau of Internal Revenue to examine the agreement for possible legal and tax issues, after the network camed back on air last October 10.
Paduano maintained that “there is a legal issue about it” and cited Congress’ oversight function as grounds for investigation. He said that A2Z, being a religious broadcasting entity, had tax-exempt status while ABS-CBN, a commercial network, is required to pay taxes.
According to Paduano, the franchise’s profits go to Big Dipper, a subsidiary registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), which according to published reports, gets business from a Hungary-based subsidiary called ABS-CBN Global Hungary Kft. This reportedly opens it up to tax evasion allegations.
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, however, found nothing amiss with the deal, given that it “is the franchise of ZOE and they are buying into it.” He added: “So ABS-CBN is still a corporation and it is within their right to do so.”
Blocktiming refers to the practice of “buying blocks of airtime” to run programs independent of networks and stations. This allowed ABS-CBN to return to free TV this month after its closure last some months ago.