No sched yet for voting on ABS-CBN franchise — House panel chair
MANILA, Philippines — No schedule has been set yet for voting on whether or not ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise will pass the committee level in the House of Representatives, a House leader said Wednesday.
Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, the chairperson of the House committee on legislative franchise, said arguments on various issues hounding ABS-CBN’s franchise bid still have to be summarized before lawmakers could vote on whether the network’s application will be brought to the plenary floor for more debates.
The House’s legislative franchise committee is handling hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise together with the committee on good government and public accountability
“Summation pa lang, wala pa [schedule] voting (We will still summarize the arguments, we have no schedule yet for the voting),” Alvarez told INQUIRER.net in a text message when asked regarding the possible schedule for the voting.
The joint committees have so far held 12 hearings related to ABS-CBN’s bid for a franchise where various issues such as the citizenship of the network’s chair emeritus Gabby Lopez, the Lopez family’s reclamation of the network after the EDSA Revolution, the alleged labor violations of the network, tax-related issues, and the network’s alleged political bias, among others, were discussed.
While the hearings were jointly conducted by the two House panels, only the 46 members of the legislative franchise committee, as well as the 44 House officials who are considered ex officio members, will be able to vote.
If the lawmakers’ votes will be for the franchise renewal, ABS-CBN’s application will be up for discussion in the plenary.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has urged lawmakers to vote on conscience on ABS-CBN’s franchise, saying that those who are for the renewal of the network’s franchise should “open their minds” to the side of the opposition and vice versa.
“From the start, we’ve been urging a conscience vote,” Cayetano said in an interview.
“That’s why we made the hearings public so that the people can decide for themselves. So, this is one of the rare cases where representatives will decide for the people,” the House Speaker added.
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