With only a maximum 36 Congress session days left to act on legislative proposals, mass media giant ABS-CBN still has enough time to have their expiring legislative franchise extended, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano disclosed yesterday.
Cayetano said Congress will be fair in dealing with the case of one of the country’s leading broadcast network that was castigated numerous times by President Duterte for various alleged offenses.
“I reiterate that Congress would be fair, will always have a fair hearing,” Cayetano declared in a Facebook Live interview yesterday.
He pointed out that the Lopez-owned network is aware that Congress has prioritized the proposed 2020 national budget and administration-backed revenue bills over all other measures.
“Pero we have more than enough time to tackle it in January, February dahil March pa naman ‘yung expiration ng franchise,” said the House leader.
There are seven bills proposing the renewal of the ABS-CBN legislative franchise for another 25 years.
Among the authors are House Deputy Speakers Vilma Santos (NP, Batangas); Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales (NP, Pampanga); Johnny Pimentel (PDP-Laban, Surigao del Sur); Reps. Sol Aragones (NPC, Laguna); Doy Leachon (PDP-Laban, Mindoro Oriental), and Jericho Nograles (PBA partylist).
Santos was a contract actress of the network while Aragones used to work as senior reporter for the embattled network.
Asked if there is an assurance that ABS-CBN will continue to operate past March 20, Cayetano said this will depend on the outcome of the hearing to be conducted by the House Committee on Legislative Franchises chaired by Palawan Rep. Chicoy Alvarez.
On Duterte’s apparent displeasure of the network, Cayetano said his stand on the issue will be respected by the House. (Ben Rosario)