Duterte to let Congress handle ABS-CBN license unless there’s ‘abuse’ of power
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would not meddle with Congress’ power to renew or not renew the franchise of television giant ABS-CBN unless Congress abuses its authority, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after detained Sen. Leila de Lima said “the personal whims of a madman” should not influence Congress’ prerogative of granting a legislative franchise.
“Exactly, the grant of a franchise is a prerogative of Congress,” he said in a text message.
“The President will not interfere with that prerogative unless there is an evident and brazen grave abuse of its authority that imperils the very life of the state, as well as such abuse not only contravenes the rights of the people but its general welfare is likewise put at risk, following the doctrine of salum populi est suprema lex (The welfare of the people is the supreme law),” he added.
The Palace official even made a comparison on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise to De Lima’s detention.
“By the same parity of reasoning, the grant of release on De Lima’s detention lies at the discretion of the court based on the evidence brought before it and not on the say-so of the US Senators or the US government for that matter,” he said.
Duterte has repeatedly warned that he would block the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN after what he claimed was the network’s failure to air his campaign advertisement during the 2016 presidential elections.
In a speech on December 30 in M’lang, North Cotabato, Duterte’s told the owners of ABS-CBN to just sell the network.
The proposed sale came as the President’s friend – Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, recently formed the Udenna Communications Media and Entertainment Holdings Corp., which expands his business to the media and entertainment sector.
Nine bills are pending at the House of Representatives for the renewal of the ABS-CBN’s franchise.
Edited by KGA
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