Mon. Apr 12th, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe said Sunday that if indeed network giant ABS-CBN’s operations would be extended until 2022 while waiting for congress to act on its franchise renewal bills, it would be best if lawmakers confirm it in writing or at least declare it verbally.

“Kahit sabihin pa nila na pwede naman ‘yan i-extend hanggang 2022, maganda siguro kung in writing o kaya at least verbally sabihin ng Kongreso. We commit to give ABS-CBN through the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a temporary permit to operate kasi hindi naman ‘yan nakasulat sa batas,” Poe said in a statement.

“Yan ay kortesiya lamang na ibinibigay ng Kongreso at NTC,” the lady senator said.

It was Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III who said that ABS-CBN can operate until March 2022 as long as there is a pending bill extending or renewing its franchise.

ABS-CBN’s franchise expires on March 30, 2020.

Poe, chairwoman of the Senate public works committee, has filed a resolution earlier seeking to look into “the operations of ABS-CBN Corporation to determine compliance with the terms and conditions of its franchise under Republic Act No. 7966.”

However, fellow Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson claimed that an inquiry to look into ABS-CBN’s franchise may violate the sub judice rule.

This is of the fact that the Supreme Court already asked the network to comment on the quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida last February 10, 2020.

It was garhered that the sub judice rule prohibits comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice, according to the Supreme Court in the April 2009 case of Romero vs. Estrada.

“Walang duda na may serbisyong ibinibigay ang network ng ABS-CBN pero ito timbangin natin—ang serbisyo ba na ibinibigay ng ABS-CBN ay akma o kayang isantabi ang mga kakulangan nito,” Poe stressed.

Closure of the broadcast giant would affect at least 11,000 of its employees and displace hundreds of business establishments surrounding its premises in Quezon City. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)

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