Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday assured that the House of Representatives would be fair in tackling the bill seeking the renewal of the 25-year congressional franchise to local broadcast network ABS-CBN.
In an interview, Cayetano noted that the chamber will not have enough time to tackle the bill this year, noting that there would be enough time in January or February next year.
“I reiterate that Congress would be fair, will always have a fair hearing. Alam naman to din ng management ng ABS-CBN na uunahin namin ang budget at tsaka mga revenue bills (The ABS-CBN management knows that we will prioritize the budget and revenue bills),” Cayetano said.
“Pero (But) we have more than enough time to tackle it in January, February dahil March pa naman ‘yung expiration ng franchise (because the expiration of the franchise is still in March). Mare-renew kaya sila (Will they be renewed) by that time? Depende sa kalalabasan ng hearing (It depends on the outcome of the hearing). I cannot preempt the committee or the issues that will be taken,” he added.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is not bent on granting the renewal of the 25-year congressional franchise to local broadcast network ABS-CBN.
Duterte made the pronouncement before the newly-appointed government officials, as he was still irked by ABS-CBN’s supposed bias by slanting reports about him.
“ABS-CBN, you’re a mouthpiece of… Ang inyong franchise, mag-end next year (Your franchise will end next year),” Duterte said in a speech delivered at the Palace’s Heroes Hall.
Cayetano said he respects Duterte’s stance on the matter, noting that the President also respects Congress’ processes.
“As you know he’s the President at meron siyang stand sa mga issues so nirerespeto natin yan (and he has a stand on the issues, so we respect that). Having said that nirerespeto rin ng ating pangulo yung proseso so hintayin na lang natin yung proseso na yun (the President also respects the process so let’s wait for that) but even the President admits that there has to be a fair process,” he said.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on Mar. 30, 2020.
Several bills have been filed at the House of Representatives, seeking the renewal of the local media giant’s congressional franchise.
However, the House franchise committee has not tabled the proposed measures for discussion.
Radio and television broadcast firms in the country are required to seek a franchise from Congress, pursuant to Republic Act 3846.