Joint reso on ABS-CBN? Why not act on pending franchise bills, asks solon | Inquirer News

Joint reso on ABS-CBN? Why not act on pending franchise bills, asks solon

/ 02:53 PM February 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — While recognizing that passage of a joint concurrent resolution on ABS-CBN franchise by the House of Representatives and the Senate could be a “partial remedy,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman proposed for the two chambers to simply act on the media giant’s pending franchise renewal bills.

Lagman raised the question as some lawmakers foisted the idea of a joint resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant provisional permit to the network.

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“We have to first amend the law because under the law, the NTC has no jurisdiction to resurrect an expired franchise. But if you pass a resolution, joint resolution, why not pass the bills granting the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN?” Lagman, an author of a resolution urging the House to tackle bills on the media giant’s franchise renewal, said in a press briefing.

According to Lagman, the suggestion that ABS-CBN can continue its operation as long as it has a pending application for renewal is “based on an alleged practice which can be challenged in court because it is not validated by jurisprudence.”

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano previously said that ABS-CBN may continue broadcasting if the NTC grants it a provisional authority to operate.

Cayetano said that the the House franchise panel may submit to the NTC a document supporting the provisional license for ABS-CBN.

Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. on Sunday called for a joint concurrent resolution which would give “clarity and substance to the emerging consensus that ABS-CBN can continue to operate while the franchise bills are pending in the 18th Congress based on precedents.”

This was backed by Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.

“We are suggesting that if the House, if it is the sense of the House to allow the extended operation of ABS-CBN pending the deliberation on the House bills for the renewal of the franchise, why don’t we make a categorical and clear position on this matter by adopting a House resolution, or better still a joint concurrent resolution of both the House and the Senate,” Fortun told reporters.

But Lagman said that such resolutions are only “partial remedies.”

“A joint resolution is as good as a law if it is signed by the President. That could be a partial remedy under the powers of Congress to enact a joint resolution. But it will have to be also approved by the President,” Lagman said.

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“But why do you have to file a joint resolution, why not act on pending bills extending the franchise of ABS-CBN?” he added.

There are at least 11 pending bills in the lower chamber on ABS-CBN’s franchise which is approaching its expiration.

Despite the number of pending bills and the continuous call by several members of the lower chamber for the issue to be tackled, the House committee on legislative franchises still has yet to hear the franchise.

Edited by EDV
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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, Edcel Lagman, legislative franchise
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