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Cayetano to critics in lower chamber: Shame on you for insulting your own House

/ 07:33 PM May 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — “How dare you belittle the tremendous work this Congress has done in the past ten months?”

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Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano did not mince his words as he addressed his critics in the lower chamber over the issue of media giant ABS-CBN’s franchise.

In a speech during Wednesday’s session, Cayetano took a jab at some of his colleagues who questioned the House leaders’ handling of the ABS-CBN franchise issue.

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“Some of my colleagues, some lang po ito. Yes, this bill is important. No question about that. But is it so important that you would lose all sense of objectivity and propriety?” Cayetano said.

“Shame on you for insulting your own House and calling your colleagues inutile, despite having passed the 2020 General Appropriations Act, the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, Postponing the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections,” the Speaker added.

He went on citing more measures passed by the lower chamber in the first 10 months of the 18th Congress.

Without mentioning names, Cayetano said that some of his critics were the ones wanting to delay priority measures.

“And kung sino pa itong isa, dalawa o tatlo na tinawag tayong tamad at inutil, hindi bat kayo naman ang nagsasabing, ‘Bukas na lang yan, hindi ko pa nabasa yang bill na yan, I need a day more. Wag muna yang Malasakit Center next week na yan’?” Cayetano said.

“Ngayon na kami nagsasabi na mas importante ang COVID-19 at paano natin made-defeat, now na we’re saying that feeding the people is more important, sasabihin nyo sa amin, ‘Forget everything? Forget due process and in one instance ipasa na lang yung 25 year franchise?” Cayetano continued.

To recall, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza Jr. earlier apologized over the “failure of Congress to do its job” on the issue of ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.

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The lawmaker said that it is the House of Representatives—particularly Cayetano—that is at fault after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the network to stop its broadcast operations after its franchise expired on May 4.

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman also took a jab at Cayetano, saying that the leader of the lower chamber “must not wash his hands and absolve himself of blame” over the shutdown.

Cayetano likewise appealed to the Senate to allow them to do their jobs.

“Remember it is always easier to get twenty-four people to agree than for three hundred,” Cayetano said.

“Remember we represent specific constituencies and sectors and that is why the Constitution provides that franchise bills will, like appropriations bills, will emanate from the House. But franchise bills enjoyed the constitutional prerogative of exclusively emanating from the House,” he added.

The Speaker said the upper chamber should respect their work—which includes their handling of the bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

“We want to work with you, we have to work with you, we have done great things together with you, our dear senators. We have to build our nation, but respect our timing and the manner of us holding our hearings,” Cayetano said.

“In other words, let’s all play nice, let’s just not just pretend to be nice to each other,” he added.

The 11 bills seeking the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN remain pending before the House committee on legislative franchises, the earliest of which, at least in the 18th Congress, was filed in July 2019.

For now, House has approved on second reading House Bill No. 6732 granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate until October 31, 2020.

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TAGS: ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN franchise, ABS-CBN shutdown, Alan Peter Cayetano
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