A think tank shared its wishful thinking Wednesday (January 26) for bilyonaryo Manny Villar to give up the prized frequencies that were previously assigned to ABS-CBN.
Infrawatch convenor Terry Ridon called the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) award of the frequencies to Villar’s Advanced Media Broadcasting Service (AMBS) an “almost midnight deal.”
“Like in many instances in this administration, what is legally and procedurally sound is not necessarily correct nor acceptable to the public,” Ridon said. “Parceling these frequencies leaves a bad taste in the mouth given that the Duterte administration is already in its final months, and it sure looks like an almost midnight deal with these media entities.”
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The group challenged the Villars to do the right thing and give up the deal, even though it has been granted already.
“This is most pressing on AMBS, which is owned by the Villar family, as they have a family member running for the Senate, and who also served in the Duterte cabinet as public works chief,” Infrawatch said.
“The public would like to see whether the Villars will recuse themselves from this award, as this is a question that will always be raised to Mark Villar during the senatorial campaign,” the group added. “It might be better for them to just waive the award until the next administration.”
The apparent sweetheart deal is also damaging to investor confidence, Ridon added, as it demonstrates “serious political risk on future investments in the Philippines.”