Conspiracy theories behind ABS-CBN’s shutdown

Conspiracy theories continue to surface as to why the Duterte Administration made it difficult for ABS-CBN to have its franchise renewed. Note that the network has applied for its franchise renewal since 2014 and continued to do so in succeeding years but this was never acted upon. For this, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN television operations.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate agree for the NTC to issue ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate and clearly expressed this not only in the legislative hearings but also through a letter and Senate Resolution No. 344, respectively. In a live telecast, the telecommunications commission also agreed to grant the said provisional authority only to change its mind later. And the most interesting: The NTC extended through a memorandum order all the permits, certificates and licenses it issued during the Covid-19 enhanced community quarantine but not the ABS-CBN operations.

As the plot thickens, we searched the social media for theories as to why ABS-CBN is being singled out. To stress, these are just theories and we do not endorse any of them.

  1. Squid tactic to cover up issues on the government’s blunders including the 3% Philhealth premium being levied against overseas Filipino workers, the operation of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), and its ineptness in address the Coronavirus or COVID-19.
  2. Eliminating some players in the mainstream media to control public opinion. This is based on the timing of the shutdown and on the idea that the government, including the DDS trolls, is losing the control of public opinion. Indeed, the government failed badly in the issues of the 3% Philhealth premium for OFWs, the opening of the operation of the POGOs, the kowtowing to China, among others. One less mainstream media means more weight to tilt the balance in favor of government’s control. While it is true that there are Duterte Administration supporters inside the television network, allegedly they are just sacrificial lambs that will be later on absorbed by the agencies of the government. Besides, won’t that give credence that the administration doesn’t care for its supporters so other networks and media outlets should beware?
  3. The act is a prelude to Martial Law. This is based on the lens that the government is trying to curtail press freedom. You can see this when history is being hyped especially considering that ABS-CBN was also shutdown during the time of Marcos. Second, the Martial Law mind conditioning is already at play. Remember Presidential legal Adviser Sal Panelo claiming that the spread of Coronavirus can also be justified as an invasion and therefore a basis for Martial Law? Of course, we have not yet seen how the armed forces have been shooting the virus with bullets. But, that could be possible, right? North Korea have been allegedly shooting to death Covid-19 positive individuals.
  4. President Duterte and his cohorts would just like to make a revenge especially considering that ABS-CBN did not air their political ads. This is an old tale though but still surfaces in the social media as the President did not even lift a finger in the shutdown.
  5. Duterte’s crony is going to buy ABS-CBN. Shutting down the network will pressure the owners to sell ABS-CBN. Dennis Uy, one of the President’s major contributors, always come up every time this theory is floated.
  6. Creating and sustaining a hero role for Bong Go. Well, you know the President’s sidekick. He always say “I will tell the President” then something happens. Allegedly, it was his passport to a senatorial seat. If this continues, the same could be a passport to the Presidential or even a Vice presidential seat in 2022.

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