Loss of Bantay Radyo ‘not a problem’

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva July 15,2015 - 12:11 AM

Davide  on coop takeover: There are other radio stations

CEBU Gov. Hilario Davide III said he wasn’t  worried about the  impending  turnover of a network of AM radio stations to a cooperative identified with the Garcias.

He was asked whether the turnover of management of El Nuevo Bantay Radyo to the Cebu CFI Cooperative on August 1 would mean a loss of campaign leverage.

“Not necessarily.  There are still other radio stations,”  Davide, provincial  chairman of the Liberal Party in Cebu, told reporters.

Last Friday, Provincial Board Member Gigi Sanchez-Zaballero went to court  seeking to  stop the  turnover.

She asked  the court to order  the network’s owner  to  honor a prior agreement to extend the management contract of her company, PAFI (Sower of Seeds) Foundation, which ends on Aug. 31.

The Sanchez-owned foundation has operated three AM stations of Bantay Radyo under a management contract, with two extensions, since 2002.

Zaballero, the  foundation president, said she had also raised the matter to Governor Davide since it had implications on  media exposure of the Garcias in the run-up to the 2016 elections after the Sarraga Integrated and Management Corp. (SIAM) signed up the cooperative.

Davide, who is seeking reelection next year, was not disturbed, however.

He said that air time was available over other radio stations. The Capitol  has purchased radio time on dyCM,  an AM station owned by the Makati Broadcasting Company.

Maria Clavel Martinez- Herrera, daughter of Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., manages the station.

Davide said  the radio station serves as an avenue to inform Cebuanos of the projects and activities of the Capitol. The Martinezes are known political allies of Davide. Around  20 AM radio stations operate in Cebu.

Davide acknowledged that  Bantay Radyo was instrumental in his campaign when he ran for governor alongside the late former Vice Gov. Gregorio Sanchez Jr, Gigi’s father, in 2010.

Davide lost to Gwendolyn Garcia then.

He said the late Sanchez offered free radio time for his campaign.

The governor, on the other hand, clarified that there were also radio programs he paid for because it was necessary.

“Bantay Radyo was a great help, especially since they have a wide coverage,” he said in Cebuano.

The civil complaint filed by Sanchez-Zaballero against  SIAM President Francisco Sarraga said that she had already negotiated for the contract renewal with SIAM representatives  and it was ready for signing after they sealed the deal with a handshake in Cagayan de Oro City,  where SIAM is based.

Governor David said Zaballero  has the right to question the contract entered into by SIAM with  the cooperative.

“SIAM should have  word of honor. They discussed it beforehand. They should have honored it,” he said.

Will CFI Cooperative’s management of the stations be used to push for the political agenda of the Garcias in 2016?

The governor said its t is possible.

“The CFI is identified with the Garcias. You can’t separate the two. Maybe they will just use that for that purpose but, I don’t want to get started on politics,” he said.

HE said that during one of his discussions with Zaballero he said he would see  how he can help, but said the provincial government will stay out of the issue since Bantay Radyo is not, in any way, connected with the province.

“Since the case is already in court, I will not comment further. Let’s just let the court decide,” said Davide.

PB Mmber Zaballero, in a statement to Cebu Daily News, said it is possible that the Garcia clan will use Bantay Radyo airtime during the campaign period.

“Given the number of possible candidates from their camp in the next election, it is not far-fetched that they intend to establish a political dynasty and to have at their use and disposal radio airtime during the campaign period will be extremely useful to them,” she said.

She said the rift between former governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Sanchez’s late father was already “part of history” and that she cannot rule out that this may one of the reasons behind the takeover.

“But I fully understand that. That’s how politics works. Whatever agenda the Garcias may have is not the reason PAFI decided to file the case against SIAM,” Sanchez added.

She said what they are fighting for is for SIAM to respect their right to extend the management contract previously agreed upon.

“We are fighting for keeping our goodwill and the name that we have built over the years PAFI has been operating and managing the stations. We are fighting for the employees who will be displaced because of this breach,” said Sanchez.

With the matter  in  court, Sanchez said she would not give more details.

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