Solons deny ‘pressure’ from House leaders amid ABS-CBN franchise issue | Inquirer News

Solons deny ‘pressure’ from House leaders amid ABS-CBN franchise issue

/ 03:51 PM February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers denied claims that the leaders of the House of Representatives are pushing those who signed a resolution pressing for immediate action on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal to withdraw their signatures.

Citing “verified reports,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said House leaders have been asking signatories to withdraw their support to House Resolution (HR) No. 639 that urges the House committee on legislative franchises to “report out without further delay for plenary action” a consolidated version of the bills on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

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But Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, one of the lawmakers who signed the resolution, said that nobody approached him to withdraw his support of the resolution.

“It’s not true. I’m a signatory, nobody has approached me to withdraw and I continue to stick with my signature,” Rodriguez told reporters when asked about the alleged pressure.

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Rodriguez said he was hesitant at first to sign the resolution as he wants to give Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, who chairs the legislative franchises committee, more time.

“But because there’s no action, I am now compelled to sign already to take it out from the committee and hear it in the plenary,” Rodriguez said.

Likewise, Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano, who serves as vice-chairperson of the legislative franchises committee, denied the allegations, but said that members of the House have the right to withdraw their own signatures “due to their own cognizance or self enlightenment.”

“I surmise that the reason for them to withdraw their signatures on their own without pressure from the leadership was because they might have realized the negativity in them signing the said petition or resolution,” Albano said in a statement on Tuesday.

Albano listed possible reasons for the withdrawal of signature of some lawmakers such as the realization that they are “shooting themselves in their own foot” by signing the resolution.

“In signing this resolution as members of the majority leadership in the committee of franchise, they are actually saying that they are not doing their job as members of the said committee,” Albano said.

“When truly, they are part of the committee that has been doing a lot of hard to goodness work. Therefore suddenly, some realizes that It doesn’t make sense for them to sign the said resolution and still be with the majority,” he added.

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Further, another possible reason Albano cited was the lawmakers’ realization that they will create a bad precedent if they sign the resolution.

“That being chairpersons and members of their own committees apart from the franchise committee, they would be hurt if we also suddenly do it to them and short cut the process just because we have gathered enough signatures and take away the committee’s right to calendar the case in their own time frame, hear the case, and promulgate a decision,” Albano said.

Likewise, Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, one of the vice chairpersons of the legislative franchises committee, denied the claims.

“Wala namang pinepressure sa usaping ganyan pero hindi natin alam sa side nila, baka naman may ilang nakausap sa side nila pero sa side ng majority ay walang pine-pressure ang majority,” Sy-Alvarado told reporters.

(There is no one being pressured but we do not know on their side, maybe they had talked to someone on their side, but in the side of the majority the majority is pressuring no one.)

As of February 17, Lagman said HR 639 has been signed by nearly 100 lawmakers — including eight deputy speakers.

INQUIRER.net has reached out to Lagman for an updated number of signatories but has yet to receive a response as of posting time.

Edited by JPV
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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, Lagman, network, television franchise
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