Senate OKs franchise of Legarda son’s solar firm on 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines —A bill, granting a 25-year legislative franchise to Solar Para sa Bayan (SPSB) owned by Senator Loren Legarda’s son, has hurdled the second reading in the Senate.
But it was not a “mega” franchise, as some people dubbed it, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said in an interview over DZMM on Friday.
“Ay hindi na mega,” Sotto said, when asked about the so-called “mega franchise.”
“Pumasa sa second reading pero napakadaming amendments kasi yun nga iniiwasan, yung mega, ginawang franchise na lang…” the Senate leader said.
The proposed franchise of SPSB, owned by Leandro Leviste, was contained in House Bill No. 8179 earlier approved by the House of Representatives in December.
SPSB is a Filipino social enterprise, which aims to serve Filipino communities with cheap and reliable 24/7 power supply.
The Senate passed the measure on second reading Wednesday, despite questions raised by some senators.
Asked about Senator Panfilo Lacson’s strong objections on the bill, Sotto believes that his colleague’s apprehensions were already addressed by the amendments introduced by the upper chamber.
“Nalinawan naman at lahat nung pangamba ni Senator Lacson ay naialis so dun sa version na pumasa sa amin eh franshise na lang, hindi na mega …” Sotto said.
But if there are still questions on the bill, he said, may still be raised to proper courts.
The Senate has yet to approve the measure on third and final reading.
Once approved by the Senate and the House, the two chambers will meet in a bicameral conference committee to reconcile their versions.
The reconciled version will then be sent back to the Senate and the House for ratification before it is transmitted to the President for signature. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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