Cayetano justifies move to not prioritize ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has made the right decision of putting ABS-CBN’s bid to renew its franchise on the back burner to make way for “other urgent matters.”
This was the justification of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for the belated public hearing on the renewal of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise as he stated his observations on Tuesday’s discussions on the issue.
The House committee on legislative franchises convened to set the ground rules for the formal deliberations on the 11 bills that seek to allow the media network giant to operate for another 25 years. ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise is set to lapse on May 4.
“After looking and watching the hearing, lalong nabuo ang loob ko na tama ang ginawa ng Kongreso na unahin muna ‘yung ibang urgent matters at i-schedule sa Mayo ‘yung hearing [on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal],” he told reporters in a press conference.
(After looking and watching the hearing, my resolve for Congress to prioritize for now other urgent matters and schedule in May the hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal has just gotten stronger.)
For Cayetano, hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid would be “contentious and emotional” since there are many opinions on whether or not ABS-CBN should be permitted to continue operations for two more decades.
However, he again assured that the House would hold “fair, transparent and objective” rule-based hearings, with the end goal of “making the right decision.”
“We can do this in one day, yes, but it will be injustice to the Filipino people dahil kailangan natin marinig ang (because we need to hear the) objections at marinig din ang mga sponsors at saka ‘yung mga gustong bigyan ulit ng (and also hear the sponsors and those who want to again give) 25 years [to ABS-CBN],” Cayetano said.
Allegations that the House “dribbled” on tackling the broadcast firm’s franchise renewal were “absolutely not true,” he insisted, noting that there were more pressing issues that the lower chamber had to deal with citing the 2020 national budget, relief for Taal volcano eruption victims, as well as the quo warranto petition that Solicitor General Jose Calida has filed before the Supreme Court against ABS-CBN.
“We don’t do the national budget kasi mas importante ang ABS-CBN? We don’t do the Taal relief kasi mas importante ang ABS-CBN? I respect people who think that way but it’s absolutely not true,” he said.
(We don’t do the national budget because ABS-CBN is more important? We don’t do the Taal relief because ABS-CBN is more important? I respect people who think that way but it’s absolutely not true.)
Cayetano believed that the panel hearing held earlier Tuesday was “successful” as it was able to meet the goals it has set to do such as establishing the ground rules and directing the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue a provisional authority for ABS-CBN’s continued operations even after May 4.
“I think, that’s a success and it reinforces my belief na tama na hindi minadali ito (that it’s just right that this was not rushed),” he said.
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