House resumes debates on ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives resumed on Monday its deliberation on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.
In the last hearing conducted on May 26, ABS-CBN’s president and chief executive officer Carlo Katigbak insisted that the network did not commit any franchise violation.
Katigbak likewise pointed out that thousands of employees would lose their jobs if the network fails to resume operations.
“We want to do everything we can to protect our employees pero may hangganan din ang kakayahan ng kumpanya namin. Habang wala kami sa ere, palaki ng palaki ang nalulugi sa amin,” Katigbak said.
“At sa mga darating na linggo, mapipilitan na kaming maglabas ng listahan ng mga empleyadong mawawalan ng trabaho. Sana makita ng Kongreso na nasa kapangyarihan ninyo ang kinabukasan nila,” he added.
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta, who represented those against the granting of the franchise to the network, said that ABS-CBN has wielded so much power that those who have been oppressed by it would not want to openly speak up against the company.
The lawmaker also argued that a franchise should not be granted to ABS-CBN since the network has been “using the airwaves for more than 50 years.”
Marcoleta was referring to Section 11 of Article XII of the 1987 Constitution, which states that: “No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted… for a longer period than fifty years.”
But this claim has since been debunked even by his own colleagues such as Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez who earlier told INQUIRER.net that the 50-year cap on franchises granted by Congress is not cumulative and that it applies to every franchise granted, with broadcast networks allowed to apply for renewal afterwards.
On May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN, directing the network to stop its broadcast operations after its franchise expired on May 4.
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