Duterte may opt to attend Senate probe on ABS-CBN’s franchise, says senator
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte may be invited to a Senate inquiry into ABS-CBN’s franchise amid various allegations being hurled against the network, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Thursday.
Duterte has been vocal against the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, citing the network’s alleged failure to air his paid campaign advertisements during the 2016 elections.
Senator Grace Poe had sought a Senate probe on the media network’s compliance with the terms and conditions of its own franchise through a resolution she filed Wednesday.
Gatchalian backed the probe, saying the Senate oversight hearing is a “good venue” to look into alleged violations of ABS-CBN.
He said the network may be invited to the hearing to shed light on the allegations against it, as well as those who oppose its franchise renewal.
“So it will be neutral ground to discover and to analyze whether the allegations are true or not,” Gatchalian said in an interview at the Senate.
Asked if the President may also be invited in the hearing, the senator said: “Pwede syang imbitahan kung gusto nyang pumunta, but this is a venue para mapag usapan. Ang importante dito mapag-usapan (He may be invited if he wants to attend but this is a venue to discuss the issue. The important thing is that we discuss it).”
Gatchalian explained that as a general rule, the committee can invite anyone to its hearings, including the President.
The senator said the President may opt to personally appear in the hearings or he may just send his opinion on the issue through a letter or his counsels.
“Nakita naman natin in the past that presidents and secretaries can be represented by their counsels,” Gatchalian added.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30 this year but the House of Representatives has yet to act on pending bills seeking to renew it for another 25 year.
Edited by EDV
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