Cayetano: We have enough time to tackle ABS-CBN franchise next year
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Cayetano on Wednesday said the chamber has enough time to tackle the franchise renewal of radio-television giant ABS-CBN Corp. next year, confirming that the House would no longer tackle the franchise this year.
The Taguig-Pateros representative was asked about a report of CNN Philippines, which tagged House legislative franchises committee chair and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez as saying that the House would no longer tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise this year. Alvarez later confirmed this to reporters.
“Walang hearing sa December 10, walang hearing (There will be no hearing on December 10, there will be no hearing) for the year,” Alvarez said.
The chamber would go on a Christmas break from Dec. 21 until Jan. 19.
“I reiterate that Congress would be fair, will always have a fair hearing. Alam naman ito din ng management ng ABS-CBN na uunahin namin ang budget atsaka mga revenue bills,” Cayetano said in an interview.
(I reiterate that Congress would be fair, will always have a fair hearing. ABS-CBN management knows this also that we will prioritize the budget and revenue bills.)
“Pero we have more than enough time to tackle it in January, February dahil March pa naman ‘yung expiration ng franchise,” he added.
(But we have more than enough time to tackle it in January, February because the expiration of the franchise will still be in March.)
But will the network have its franchise renewed before its expiration on March 30, 2020? The Speaker could not say, for now, noting that it would depend on the panel’s discussions.
“Depende sa kalalabasan ng hearing. I cannot preempt the committee or the issues that will be taken,” he added.
(It depends on the outcome of the hearing. I cannot preempt the committee or the issues that will be taken.)
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. said minority members have the freedom to decide on ABS-CBN’s franchise.
“Of course hindi ko masasabi sa majority congressman (But of course I cannot say the same with the majority congressmen),” he said in a press conference,
The six-member Makabayan opposition bloc for their part supports ABS-CBN, according to ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night issued a new threat to block the network’s franchise renewal.
Cayetano said he respects the opinion of his former running mate during the 2016 elections.
“Having said that, nirerespeto rin ng ating Pangulo ‘yung proseso so hintayin na lang natin ‘yung proseso na ‘yun but even the President admits that there has to be a fair process,” the congressman said.
(Having said that, our President also respects the process so let’s just wait on that process but even the President admits that there has to be a fair process.)
Both Cayetano and Duterte had accused the broadcast giant of being unfair to them during the 2016 national election campaign. But ABS-CBN chair Eugenio “Gabby” L. Lopez III, at the time, brushed aside such allegations.
Every now and then, the President has been repeatedly uttering threats against media outfits critical of his administration like ABS-CBN, broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer, and online news site Rappler.
Edited by KGA
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