Solon moves for recall of ABS-CBN provisional franchise approval in House
MANILA, Philippines — Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Friday he will move to recall the approval on second reading of the bill granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until October 2020 due to a “question of constitutionality” in relation to the passage of measures on separate days.
Rodriguez said it is “very clear” in the Constitution that no bill passed by the Senate or House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days.
The lawmaker was referring to Article VI Section 26. (2) of the Constitution which states that “(n)o bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency.”
During House’s session on May 13, the lower chamber convened into a Committee of the Whole to tackle House Bill No. 6732, granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise until October 31, 2020.
After the committee of the whole’s approval, the bill was immediately deliberated and eventually approved on second reading on the same day.
“May pro and (opposition), so if we pass this kind of a law that may be violation of the Constitution, sayang (We have it would be unfortunate),” Rodriguez told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
“The people who are against it can go to the court to declare it unconstitutional. So therefore, best way is to cure this on Monday to open it for amendments then we vote again so this could be another day from Wednesday,” the lawmaker added.
This issue on the unconstitutionality of the grant of the interim franchise has also been raised by Senator Francis Pangilinan.
Another reason for Rodriguez’s motion to recall the approval of the bill was his proposed amendment that was not included in the measure.
“Last Wednesday, I texted the secretariat to tell the majority leader na mayroon akong individual amendments but somehow, hindi nakuha yung sakin (my amendments were not included),” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez’ proposed amendment is in relation to Section 4 of House Bill No. 6732 mandating the network to provide “public service time.”
“(I want) to remove this requirement that there should be public service time — ten percent of the commercials and advertisements shall be given free to the executive, legislative, judiciary, and constitutional commissions,” Rodriguez said.
“That is, I believe, unequal protection of the law because other issued earlier including the 1995 franchise of ABS-CBN does not contain that,” he added.
The lawmaker likewise questioned the “undue delegation” of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to promulgate the rules and regulation for the public service time.
“Now it gives so much discretion (to the NTC) because there is no allocation of how much time goes to the judiciary, to the executive, it should be equal,” Rodriguez said.
Under the Constitution, franchise bills must emanate from the House before it can be tackled in Senate plenary.
Once approved by the Senate, both chambers have to ratify the reconciled bill before it can be transmitted to the President for his signature.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.