House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday, May 19, announced that the Philippine House of Representatives is foregoing the provisional franchise for media giant ABS-CBN to instead deliberate on the bills for a 25-year franchise.
This announcement came after the lower chamber recalled its approval on the second reading of House Bill No. 6732, which grants ABS-CBN with a franchise until October 31.
“Because of all this divisiveness and after consulting with the members of the House, the political parties, and the regional groups… I, together with the House of Representatives leadership have decided to forego with the provisional franchise, and immediately proceed with the hearings for the full 25-year renewal application of the ABS-CBN franchise,” Cayetano said.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises will be tackling the bills for the ABS-CBN franchise renewal.
Cayetano also said that the hearings should be fair, impartial, comprehensive, and thorough.
“Let us give Chairman Chikoy Alvarez and our committee on legislative franchise complete autonomy, walang mag-iimpluwensya sa kanila (no one will influence them). Let us give them the task to carry out a fair, comprehensive, thorough hearing,” he said.
“Let it be continuous para walang magsabing pinapatigil, tinitigil (so no one will say it is being delayed), we’re dragging our feet. Let us direct our committee to immediately and continuously hold hearings until everyone is heard and after everyone is heard, then we can decide,” he added.
Cayetano also urged the House members to “vote in accordance with our conscience and not our politics.”
“In other words, makinig tayo sa hearings (let’s listen to the hearings). May alam tayo (If we know something), let’s testify,” Cayetano said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 19 decided not to issue a restraining order on the cease and desist order against ABS-CBN.
Instead, the SC ordered the National Telecommunications Commission to comment in 10 calendar days on the network’s petition against the CDO.
Likewise, the House of Representatives and the Senate were asked for their separate comments within 10 days.
“The Court separately impleaded the Senate and the House of Representatives as a party to the case,” said Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka.
The SC also junked lawyer Lorenzo Gadon’s plea to consolidate the ABS-CBN case with his own petition that wanted the SC to stop the NTC from issuing the network a provisional authority to operate.
ABS-CBN on Monday, May 18 filed a Reiterative Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order, saying that it has been losing about P35 million daily in advertising revenues since its operations stopped last May 5.
“If this severe financial hemorrhage is not stopped, ABS-CBN may be constrained to eventually let go of workers, reduce salaries and benefits, and substantially cut down on costs and expenses,” the network explained.