No pressure: House panel fine with Senate hearing on ABS-CBN franchise – Alvarez
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is not pressured by the Senate’s conduct of a public hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
House committee on legislative franchises chair and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez said this Monday, saying they are respecting the separation between the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“Nirerespeto po natin ‘yung ating mga kasamahan sa Senado na hiwalay naman po sila. At tayo po dito may sarili din po (We respect our colleagues in the Senate that we are separate chambers. We also have our own),” Alvarez told reporters in an interview.
On Monday, the Senate started its hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. Senator Grace Poe, chair of the committee on public services, earlier pointed out that she would begin deliberating on the media network’s franchise even without prior action from the House of Representatives provided that she would not yet release a committee report on the matter.
This move by Poe earned the ire of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, who questioned the constitutionality of the Senate hearing. Cayetano said franchise bills should emanate from the House of Representatives.
Currently, 11 bills endorsing ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal are pending at the House – still not tackled by the committee up to this day even if the media network’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.
House legislators, however, insisted that they are working on the issue although they have yet to calendar a single hearing to discuss the pending bills.
Then on Monday, as the Senate’s public hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise commenced, the House committee on legislative franchises asked parties involved to submit their position paper on the issue whether it would be in favor or against the renewal.
Alvarez said his committee may tackle the issue between May and August.
Republic Act No. 3846 requires television and radio broadcasting companies to secure a franchise from the government before they are allowed to operate. It is Congress that will decide whether to extend the franchise to public utilities, such as the media.
Edited by KGA
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