Voting rules on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal made last-minute confusing hashtags on social media

July 10, 2020 - 6:09 PM
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ABS-CBN supporters hold protest placards as Philippine congress finalizes decision on the broadcast network's franchise renewal, outside the ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 9, 2020. Reuters/Eloisa Lopez

(Updated 8:20 p.m.) The online campaign to support ABS-CBN changed last minute from #VoteYestoABSCBN to a confusing #NoToABSCBNFranchiseDenial ahead of the voting session at the House of Representatives.

In a historic vote on July 10, majority of the members of the The House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year franchise, which cost the livelihood of more than 11,000 workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seventy lawmakers voted in favor of the resolution to deny the broadcast giant of its license to operate, two inhibited and one abstained.

Only 11 lawmakers voted against the resolution. These are:

  1. Sol Aragones
  2. Toff De Venecia
  3. Caloi Zarate
  4. Gab Bordado
  5. Vilma Santos
  6. Lianda Bolilia
  7. Ping Tejada
  8. Beny Abante
  9. Stella Quimbo
  10. Mujiv Hataman
  11. Edward Maceda

READ: Who’s who: A rundown of votes during ABS-CBN franchise renewal final hearing

Before the franchise renewal voting, Kapamilya stars Kathryn Bernardo, Angel Locsin and Piolo Pascual were spotted leading the public demonstration at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City. They are urging lawmakers to give their home network another chance.

Bernardo also initiated an online campaign on Twitter via the hashtags #WeAreOneKapamilya and #IbalikAngABSCBN, for her fans to use to show their support online.

The award-winning actress also attached a creative graphic with the names of the online initiative using ABS-CBN’s color theme in her post.

These hashtags immediately dominated Philippines Trends on the microblogging platform on Friday afternoon, including the hashtag #VoteYestoABSCBN. Kapamilya stars and their fans have previously been using these hashtags in their online petition before.

Bernardo’s onscreen partner and boyfriend Daniel Padilla also used it in his posts on social media.

However, minutes before the actual voting started, Rep. Jose Sy-Alvarado (Bulacan, 1st District) made a clarification that voting “yes” corresponds to agreeing to the resolution that denies ABS-CBN its new franchise.

Bernardo, along with her colleagues Liza Soberano, Anne Curtis-Smith, and several ABS-CBN journalists such as Mike Navallo immediately launched the new online hashtag #NotoABSCBNFranchiseDenial for their fans and followers to use as a pledge of support to the broadcast giant.

After this change in hashtag, actress Kim Chiu erroneously tweeted: #NotoABSCBNFranchiseRenewal.

The now-deleted tweet of actress Kim Chiu. (Screenshot by Interaksyon)

She immediately deleted this after supporters informed her that she used the wrong hashtag.

Chiu later lamented the confusing voting rules.

DZMM radio jock Czarina Balba, popularly known as DJ Chacha also tweeted her sentiment on the confusing rule.

Despite the widespread petition to House members, the Technical Working Group recommended the denial of ABS-CBN’s broadcast giant, which consequently earned a nod by most members of the Lower House.

Supporters and subscribers of ABS-CBN’s artists previously performed their part on making a public request to urge representatives to make the right decision to grant ABS-CBN’s franchise for the sake of the company’s network from email protests, prayer rallies to street demonstrations.

Soberano and her onscreen partner and boyfriend Enrique Gil also previously created a video message to Rep. Rodante Marcoleta (Sagip party-list), who was a vocal opponent on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, and urged him to reconsider and give the network another chance.

ABS-CBN’s radio and television services were shut down last May 5, which was the first time since 1972, in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease-and-desist order after its franchise lapsed.

On June 30, ABS-CBN’s TV Plus channels and Sky Cable’s satellite services were also forced to halt their operations following another CDO from state regulators.

Twelve franchise hearings were conducted to supposedly tackle legal issues surrounding their license renewal.

ABS-CBN’s executives have previously responded to all the allegations thrown at them, which include foreign ownership and tax evasion.

Bills that seek to grant its legislative franchise have also been filed and sat in Congress since 2016.