Poe vows to protect resource persons in ABS-CBN franchise renewal hearing
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe has pledged to protect resource persons who will be invited in the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.
The panel chair issued this promise as the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed earlier Tuesday – a day after Poe announced the conduct of the public hearing – a motion asking the Supreme Court to stop ABS-CBN and other concerned parties from discussing the quo warranto petition.
“We’re committed to protect our resource persons kung anuman ang kanilang sasabihin. Ngayon gaya nga ng sinabi ko, meron na bang nahatulan ang Korte Suprema sa pagsasalita nila dito sa Senado, wala pa naman,” Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, told reporters in an interview.
(We’re committed to protecting our resource persons on whatever they will say. Now, as I said, has there been anyone who was convicted by the Supreme Court for speaking before the Senate. So far, there’s none.)
“Siyempre merong susubok na mag-file ng kaso para pahirapan ‘yung mga testigo, pero risonable naman ako, umaasa, ang ating Korte Suprema na makikita nila na kung ang mga senador ay exempt sa pagsasalita nila sa isang hearing, parang common sense na kasama ‘yung mga kausap nila di’ba? Alangan naman kausapin ng Senado ang sarili nila,” she pointed out.
(Of course, there will be those who will file cases to burden the witnesses, but I’m reasonable, hoping that our Supreme Court will see that if the senators are exempted for speaking in the hearing, it’s like common sense that it includes those who are being talked to by senators, right? It can’t be that the Senate talks to itself.)
Poe assured that the Senate would offer “whatever authority” the upper chamber can extend “to offer that protection” to resource persons.
Poe earlier cited the constitutional mandate of the Senate to grant or deny legislative franchises as she insisted that her panel “will push through” with the hearing despite OSG’s motion to gag ABS-CBN and others in the quo warranto petition it filed on February 10 before the high court.
Solicitor General Jose Calida personally went to the Supreme Court and filed the quo warranto petition, which seeks to void ABS-CBN’s franchise allegedly due to “abusive practices”.
“Now whether or not the Court will decide in favor of the Senate, what I can say is in the past the Supreme Court has always upheld that the Senate is a co-equal branch of government,” Poe pointed out.
The chair of the Senate committee on public services said she eyes the conduct of the hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal at a schedule earlier than the originally set February 27.