Palace ‘neutral,’ ABS-CBN’s franchise solely in hands of Congress – Roque
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang maintained on Friday its neutrality on ABS-CBN’s franchise, saying that the decision lies solely in the hands of Congress.
“The decision of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation is a sole prerogative of Congress that we in the Executive recognize,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
The House committee on legislative franchises, voting 70-11, denied granting ABS-CBN a new congressional franchise to resume its operations.
“The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches government,” Roque said.
“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he added.
Previously, Roque said members of Congress should vote as their “conscience dictates” since President Rodrigo Duterte remains neutral on the media giant’s franchise renewal.
Duterte had repeatedly vowed to block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, citing the network’s failure to air his ads during his campaign for the presidency in 2016.
ABS-CBN, during a Senate hearing in February 2020, apologized to the President and explained that the time limits under the election law prohibited the airing of some of his ads.
The network also offered to return the President’s money, but Duterte said they should just donate it to a charitable institution.
The President accepted the media giant’s apology and said he will leave the media network giant’s impending franchise renewal to Congress. [ac]
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