Sotto, Drilon dismiss Gadon request to inhibit from ABS-CBN franchise hearings
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday shrugged off the call of lawyer Larry Gadon who asked several senators, including him, to inhibit from the deliberations and voting on bills regarding the renewal of broadcast giant ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise.
“I am not financially interested in the business of ABS-CBN. I am not a stockholder. I am part of the Congress that is mandated by the Constitution to grant franchises. I cannot shirk from my sworn duty,” Sotto told reporters when asked to comment.
“Besides, I suggest you listen to my interpellations before judging me,” he added.
Gadon reportedly sent a letter to Sotto’s office over the weekend calling for the inhibition of nine senators who supposedly had some sort of connection to the network.
In a separate message, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Gadon’s request had “(a)bsolutely no basis.”
“We are a political body. Inhibition is a personal decision of each senator. No one can impose it, not even the (Supreme Court),” Drilon said.
“We can only be disciplined, if there are ethical issues involved in our participation in the ABS-CBN franchise, by the Senate, and no one else. We are answerable only to the Senate and the people” he added.
The Senate public services committee is scheduled to open its hearings on Tuesday, May 19, on Senate Bill 981, which seeks to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN for another 25 years and Senate Bill 1521, which seeks to grant a temporary franchise to the network valid until the end of June 2022.
ABS-CBN was forced off the air on May 5 after the NTC issued a cease-and-desist order directing the network to shut down its TV and radio broadcasting operations nationwide.
The NTC issued the closure order a day after ABS-CBN’s 25-year franchise lapsed on May 4.
This, despite the NTC’s earlier assurance that it would grant provisional authority to ABS-CBN as Congress deliberates on the network’s pending franchise renewal.
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