14 senators now backing ABS-CBN franchise approval
MANILA, Philippines — At least 14 or majority of the 24 senators are now backing the franchise revival of media giant ABS-CBN Corp., Senate President Vincente “Tito” Sotto III said Tuesday.
It was Sotto who revived the issue by filing Senate Bill No. 1967 that calls for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, which expired in May 2020.
Sotto said 13 senators will co-author his bill and they are the following:
- Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
- Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri
- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon
- Senator Panfilo Lacson
- Senator Sonny Angara
- Senator Nancy Binay
- Senator Sherwin Gatchalian
- Senator Richard Gordon
- Senator Lito Lapid
- Senator Manny Pacquiao
- Senator Joel Villanueva
- Senator Risa Hontiveros
- Senator Francis Pangilinan
A franchise bill, however, must emanate from the House of Representatives before the Senate could vote on it.
Sotto reiterated that his decision to seek for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal was “incensed by the mediocre news programming of TV stations operating.”
“They need healthy competition to be on their toes. That’s my real purpose!” he said in a text message, responding to those questioning his motives in filing the bill.
When the ABS-CBN franchise expired in May, 13 senators also filed a resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission to allow the continued operation of the media giant pending Congress’ decision on its franchise application.
Those who signed the resolution then were Hontiveros, Recto, Zubiri, Drilon, Angara, Binay, Gatchalian, Lapid, Pacquiao, Pangilinan, and Villanueva, as well as Senators Pia Cayetano and Leila de Lima.
In July, however, the House denied the franchise application of ABS-CBN.
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