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Congress could craft law automatically extending franchises pending renewal – Poe

/ 03:20 PM May 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Congress could look into crafting legislation that would automatically extend the validity of an applicant’s legislative franchise pending its renewal, Senator Grace Poe said Tuesday.

In a teleconference with reporters, Poe noted that the law failed to determine how Congress should deal with an expiring franchise whose renewal is still being deliberated on.

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The senator, who chairs the Senate public services committee, said this “gap in the law” is the reason for the “dilemma” currently being faced by ABS-CBN, whose franchise lapsed on May 4 forcing the network to go off the air.

“Yung kakulangan sa batas, ‘pag nagkaroon ng deliberasyon sa Kongreso at nag-expire ang prangkisa ng isang applicant. Yun ang sinasabi ng Secretary of Justice na gap in the law where equity needs to be applied. Strikto ang batas, pero ang batas ay nandiyan para protektahan ang nakararami di ba?” Poe said.

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She said the Senate and the House of Representatives could come up with a law that would automatically extend the franchise of an applicant while its renewal remains pending in Congress.

“Kailangan natin ilagay talaga sa isang batas…na pag ang prangkisa mo ay mage-expire na at ito ay naihain sa Kongreso at ito’y pinagaaralan at pinagdedebatihan pa, pwede kang automatically extended for a certain period,” she said.

“Definitely this is something that the (legislative) franchise committee in the House, as well as the public services committee in the Senate, can look at,” she added.

Thirteen senators earlier filed a bill that would grant ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until June 30, 2022 while Congress deliberates on its renewal application.

The said bill has already been referred to Poe’s committee.

However, Poe earlier inhibited herself from tackling ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bills and delegated Senator Sherwin Gatchalian to take over.

Nevertheless, she expressed support for the said measure, adding that this would give time for Congress to deliberate on the network’s franchise renewal.

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“They need more time to deliberate kaya nga daw hindi dapat minamadali ito para mabigyan ng pagkakataon lahat na pagaralan itong prangkisang ito. So isa ‘yan sa magandang remedyo sa ngayon,” Poe said.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN franchise, Congress, franchise renewal, Nation, news, Senator Grace Poe
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