Cayetano says ‘no intention’ to have ABS-CBN closed
MANILA, Philippines — As the franchise expiration date of media giant ABS-CBN approaches, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday that there is “no intention” to shut down the network’s operations.
Cayetano made the assurance three days before ABS-CBN’s current franchise expires, with the network’s bid for franchise renewal still pending before the House of Representatives.
“ABS-CBN, nothing has changed, we guarantee them a fair hearing. But it is the right of complainants especially those saying that it’s being used as a political tool during presidential elections to give their side,” Cayetano said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“Having said that, walang intention na ipasara sila o isara sila o gamitin ang situation na ito (there is no intention to have them closed down or use the situation),” he added.
The House Speaker, however, said that due process still needs to be followed and all sides should be heard.
Cayetano again cited the order to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate while their franchise renewal is being tackled in the lower chamber.
Earlier, Cayetano and Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, the franchise committee chair, sent a letter to the NTC enjoining the commission to grant a provisional authority to operate to ABS-CBN effective on May 4, 2020, “until such time that the House of Representatives/Congress has made a decision on its application.”
“Ang tingin ng Kongreso (The Congress believes that), if we have the authority to give a broadcast company 25 years to operate, why can’t we give them a few months to operate while we’re in the middle of the hearings?” Cayetano said.
“Ang basis namin yung Constitution (Our basis is the Constitution). The constitutional right for us to grant franchises,” he added.
The 11 bills seeking the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise remain pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises — the earliest of which, at least in the 18th Congress, was filed in July 2019.
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