Yesterday afternoon Pork Barrel whistleblower Benhur Luy appeared on the Senate to testify on the ongoing Pork Barrel Scam. Luy appeared reserved and calm while facing the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee consisting of senators Ralph Recto, JV Ejercito, Teofisto Guingona III, Allan Peter Cayetano, Bam Aquino, and Franklin Drilon. The proceedings were captured live on every television network; however, not all aired it on free TV.
While GMA News TV and AksyonTV, free television counterparts of GMA and TV5, aired the live coverage of the Luy testimony, ABS-CBN did not air the entirety of the proceedings at all on free TV. Though the ABS-CBN News Channel and DZMM Teleradyo aired the proceedings in full, they were only available through a number of cable subscribers, and Studio 23, the ABS-CBN’s UHF channel, opted to air a re-run of ‘Oki Doki Doc‘, a classic Dolphy film, and UAAP basketball replays rather than picking up ANC’s live coverage. It became clear that ABS-CBN would only air the Luy testimony through a select number of politically-conscious netizens who would voice out their opinions through social media, and not through an entire audience unaware of the ongoing situation.
Of course, GMA News TV and AksyonTV wanted to air the proceedings to the entire nation, just to witness how strong Luy’s testimony is. They didn’t care if the audience was unaware of the situation, but rather they carried the entire coverage both sincerely and actively in order to be seen by millions of viewers. And this was not the case on ABS-CBN, who never wanted to sacrifice some of their television programs just for this marathon session.
The Kapamilya network should know it too well. They may have some of the highest-rated programs today, but by snubbing live free TV coverage of the Benhur Luy testimony, they have alienated a portion of their loyal viewers. The next time they carry a live political session, they should make sure that it will be seen not only on cable, but through free TV, regardless of which program airs at the moment, unless it conflicts with live ABS-CBN Sports coverage on Studio 23. And that’s exactly what I wanted to see with the Kapamilya network in the near future.