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‘Do your job’ on ABS-CBN’s franchise, Palace tells lawmakers

/ 04:45 PM February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday urged members of Congress to “do their job” as broadcast giant ABS-CBN seeks to extend its legislative franchise.

Noting how commentaries supposedly blamed President Rodrigo Duterte for the “impasse” on the pending bills for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo stressed that it is the lawmakers’ responsibility to deliberate whether or not they will grant the franchise extension of another 25 years.

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“I just said earlier that as far as (President Duterte) is concerned, that issue is up to the hands of Congress and he has nothing to do with it. Do their work,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Several bills seeking to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN for another 25 years remain pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises. Its existing franchise will expire on March 30.

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Duterte has publicly threatened to block the franchise renewal of the media network over its failure to air his 2016 presidential campaign advertisements. He even told ABS-CBN owners to just sell the company if they want it to stay in business.

A month before ABS-CBN’s franchise expires, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court to revoke the legislative franchises of ABS-CBN Corp. and its subsidiary ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., citing what it described as “highly abusive practices” of the network.

But Panelo said that the President has nothing to do with Calida’s work and that his rants against the media network were based on his experience as a “victim of fraud.”

The Senate committee on public services is set to hold its first hearing on ABS-CBN’s application for the renewal of its franchise on Feb. 24.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, Congress, franchise, Jose Calida, lawmakers, Malacañang, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo, Senate
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