‘Chill ka lang’: Cayetano tells Poe to read findings on ABS-CBN franchise denial
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano told Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday to “chill,” as he urged the latter to read the findings that led to the decision of the House committee on legislative franchises to deny broadcast giant ABS-CBN’s application for a fresh 25-year franchise.
Cayetano made the remark after Poe warned that the resolution on ABS-CBN’s franchise bid “affects all franchises both past and present.”
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services that started hearings on legislative franchises in the upper chamber, also said that the House panel’s ruling sets “a dangerous precedent for all other franchises.”
But Cayetano has a message to the senator: “Chill ka lang, Grace (Chill it, Grace). Our country is on the right track.”
“I agree with Sen. Grace Poe that the denial of the Lopez’s franchise application for ABSCBN sets a precedent… And it is precisely the precedent we want to make — that the House of Representatives will never tolerate anyone, including oligarchs, who will abuse the system and cheat both the government and our people,” Cayetano said in a Facebook post.
Cayetano then urged Poe to read the findings of the House committee.
The House Speaker likewise insisted that the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise could have a “chilling effect” to journalists as well as freedom of expression.
“Both Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Grace Poe, have also warned of the “chilling” effect this will have on Journalists and the Freedom of Expression. This is Completely False… Again, I invite both the Vice President and our good Senator to read the decision, rewatch the hearings, and maybe come to understand that not breaking the law is not the same as obeying it,” Cayetano said.
He said that the chilling effect following the matter will only be for those who “would abuse the system and hold cavalier attitudes towards our laws, and even the Philippine Constitution.”
The House Speaker then compared ABS-CBN’s application to that of GMA and TV 5. Both of which, Cayetano said, were previously approved “without a hitch.”
“That is because their exercise of the freedom of speech and of the Press, was never employed to mask the corporate practices of their owners that screwed the system and our people — to the tune of billions of pesos,” Cayetano said.
“While the newscast of their journalists was as feisty as ABSCBN – and in my case, even feistier at times – their owners did not violate election laws nor sought to play Kingmaker, or Kingslayer,” he added.
Cayetano further said: “I only hope that despite being the beneficiary of the network’s support – much like the Vice President did – you will still join us in fighting for what is right.”
On July 10, 70 lawmakers voted against granting ABS-CBN a franchise, with only 11 lawmakers voted for the granting of the franchise.
The network has been off the air since early May after its television and radio operations nationwide were ordered shut following the expiration of its 25-year franchise, the renewal of which was pending in Congress at the time.
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