MANILA – The House Committee on Legislative Franchises is urging for Congress to issue a joint resolution for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to allow temporarily ABS-CBN Corp. continued operations while a seeking for a new franchise.
Committee chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. made the move on the heels of a proposal by Sen. Mary Grace Poe asking lawmakers “to declare verbally or in writing that the media network could still operate even after its 25-year franchise expires on March 30.”
ABS-CBN has at least 11 bills filed in relation to the network’s franchise renewal but are all pending at the House of Representatives.
Last week, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano hearings on the renewal bills may not be held until after session resumes after the Holy Week break in May.
Several movie and television personalities already made an appeal to President Duterte to reconsider ABS-CBN’s franchise.
One of these is no other than Megastar Sharon Cuneta who recently renewed her ABS-CBN talent contract, and so with Melai Cantiveros.
Like Senate President Tito Sotto, Cayetano also hinted the network might still operate until the end of the 18th Congress or in 2022 while its franchise renewal bills are pending in congress.
Garbin said his proposal could “help calm tensions while creating the space and time for solutions for the pending franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and ABS-CBN Convergence.”
His Joint Concurrent Resolution (JCR) “would give clarity and substance to the emerging consensus that ABS-CBN can continue to operate while the franchise bills are pending in the 18th Congress based on precedents,” he added.
“It will also assure the 11,000 workers at ABS-CBN that they still have jobs up until both Houses of Congress have decided on the matter with finality,” Garbin said.
Meanwhile, on Monday last week, Solicitor General Jose Calida petitioned the Supreme Court to cancel ABS-CBN of its franchise.
The SG ‘s move gathered criticisms but he has defended his filing of the petition, saying the Supreme Court is the right venue for the case, even as he stated that “Rule 66, Section 7, of the Rules of Court that the high court had “concurrent jurisdiction” over a quo warranto case.”
Calida added that the critics of the petition “should look first at the evidence presented.”
“Andun na ‘yung facts (The facts are there). We asked the different government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Telecommunications Commission to provide us with these documents,” Calida added.
His petition accuses ABS-CBN “to have violated its legislative franchise. He attached documents from the SEC to prove that ABS-CBN sold Philippine Depositary Receipts to non-Filipino entities.”
Philippines media entities must be 100 percent Filipino-owned he said. (IAMIGO/sovereignph.com)