16 of 24 senators pushing for ABS-CBN franchise
MANILA, Philippines— Two more senators are joining the call for the revival of the franchise of media giant ABS-CBN Corp., bringing the total number of supporters in the Senate to 16.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto released to media on Wednesday the list of 15 co-authors of his Senate Bill No. 1967.
The bill filed last Monday sought to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN, which expired last May.
The list now includes Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, and Leila de Lima, who has been jailed on drug charges.
Below is the list of 15 co-authors of Sotto’s bill:
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
Senator Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III
Senator Leila de Lima
Eight of 24 senators are not signatories or co-authors of the measure. They are Senators Pia Cayetano, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. Francis Tolentino, and Cynthia Villar.
While she did not sign the bill, Poe earlier vowed to give “utmost priority” to the measure once referred to the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs.
“Given the crippling effects of the ABS-CBN shutdown and the need for more news outlets with the widest reach during the raging pandemic, the issue will be given utmost priority as soon as it is referred to the Committee on Public Service,” she said.
Under the Constitution, however, franchise bills must emanate from the House of Representatives.
“My support for a free and fair media in the name of public service remains. I will make sure that the Committee acts on it in due course,” Poe added. [ac]
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