If he becomes president, Moreno will sign bill granting ABS-CBN new franchise
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, if elected president and Congress enacts a bill granting ABS-CBN a new franchise, has vowed to sign the proposed legislation.
Moreno made it clear in a briefing after announcing his presidential candidacy on Wednesday that rule of law would prevail should he emerge victorious in the 2022 national elections.
“I made it clear in my speech: rule of law, if Congress gives you such privilege, approve it, I will sign it, because ang komersyo, dapat para sa lahat [because commerce should be for all],” he said.
He also assured the public that while he would push for accountability, he would not use the government to abuse or to make things hard for a particular personality or corporation.
‘Ang negosyo at pagkakataon, para sa lahat. ‘Yong may mga kasalanan, papanagutin. ‘Yong may mga obligasyon, dapat tup’din ng mga tao o ng korporasyon,” the local executive said.
(Business and opportunities should be for everyone. Those who erred should be held accountable. Those with obligations, they should be complied with by people or corporations.)
“Pero gagamitin ang kapangyarihan upang manggipit? Umasa kayo, hindi mangyayari ‘yon sa panahon ko. You will be given equal opportunity, we will level the playing field, we are going to be certain with our rules,” he added.
(But to use power just to harass an entity? You can expect that it would not happen during my time. You will be given equal opportunity, we will level the playing field, we are going to be certain with our rules.)
ABS-CBN’s free television and radio stations across the country remain shut down after the House of Representatives did not grant the network a fresh 25 year franchise, after its old franchise expired last May 4, 2020.
This was despite the assurance of the same House and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) months prior that ABS-CBN would be allowed to operate even without a franchise.
However, a day after the franchise expired, NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that while other networks continued operating despite the absence of a franchise, the same privilege would not be accorded to ABS-CBN because of questions to its franchise.
While he did not mention what kind of questions were raised on ABS-CBN’s franchise that merited the NTC’s cease and desist order, Solicitor General Jose Calida previously filed a quo warranto petition before the Supreme Court against the network for supposedly using a corporate veil in hiding foreign ownership.
Despite allegations that the executive department was behind ABS-CBN’s shutdown, President Rodrigo Duterte and his officials maintained that they had nothing to do with the decision — even if the Chief Executive has numerous times expressed disdain for the network.
Duterte was referring to the network’s airing of campaign materials against him before the 2016 presidential elections, and its supposed balance from Duterte’s payments for advertisements.
The President in December 2019 also threatened ABS-CBN amid its looming franchise issue, saying that he will see to it that it is out. Then after the franchise was finally killed off by the House, Duterte made fresh tirades about the network, based on an audio clip of his speech.
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