Extend ABS-CBN franchise validity until 2022? Go says its ‘unnecessary, political’
MANILA, Philippines — Neophyte Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday said resolutions being filed at the Senate in a bid to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise are “superfluous” and tainted with politics.
“It would be superfluous because it will not supersede an existing law, merong kasalukuyang batas, andyan po yung franchise at paguusapan na po ito sa Kongreso. I think magiging useless na po siya. Unnecessary,” Go, the President’s closest ally in the Senate, told reporters in an interview.
In particular, Go questioned the resolutions filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon seeking to extend the franchise of the media giant, which is set to expire in May this year.
Drilon filed two separate resolutions—a joint resolution and a concurrent resolution—seeking to extend the existing franchise of the ABS-CBN until December 31, 2022, while bills on its renewal are pending in the 18th Congress.
“Yung resolution ni Senator Drilon nahahaluan kasi yun ng pulitika. Bakit po natin ide-deprive sa Presidente yung power to approve or to veto a franchise kung lampas na po ng kanyang termino kung saka-sakaling aprubahan man po ito,” Go went on.
“Siya po ang Presidente ng ating bansa e, authority nya ‘yon at karapatan niyang aprubahan or to veto a franchise bill. Bakit 2022? Dahil tapos na po yung termino ni Pangulong Duterte? Sinasadya naman yon,” Duterte’s long-time aide further claimed.
Go, however, said he was more likely to support a bill filed by Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla seeking to extend the validity of ABS-CBN’s franchise until December 31, 2020.
“I will support kung saka-sakali hanggang katapusan ng taon kung wala na talaga silang panahon na gawin ang kanilang pagdinig,” he said referring to the lower chamber.
The senator though said that he still prefers that a bill on the franchise renewal be acted upon instead.
“Mas sasangaayon po ako dito sa resolution ni Revilla though it will be superfluous na po, magiging unnecessary na siya kasi pinaguusapan na nga po dito,” Go said.
“Mas priority ko po ngayon yung i-dinig na itong franchise, either we approve, you approve sa lower house or you deny, if you approve ipadala niyo na dito sa amin sa Senado and we will vote dito sa Senado,” he added.
On Monday, the Senate public services committee opened its first hearing on the franchise of the media giant as the House of Representatives has yet to act on pending measures before it.
During the hearing, Go accused ABS-CBN over what he said was “black propaganda” in 2016 against then-presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte.
This was over the negative political ad paid for by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV which showed children questioning Duterte’s foul language.
ABS-CBN president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak had apologized if the network had offended the President.
Katigbak, however, explained that ABS-CBN was just abiding by its policies in airing political ads and cited the Fair Elections Act which considers ads against a candidate to be a lawful election propaganda.
Edited by MUF
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