MANILA – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said Malacañang had no involvement in the recent move of the House of Representatives to drop the bill granting broadcast network ABS-CBN a five-month provisional franchise.
In an interview, Cayetano said President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the affairs of other branches of government, particularly the legislature’s prerogative on the franchise application of the media giant.
“I can tell you and look you in the eyes na ang ano [sabi] sa akin ni Presidente (that what the President told me) is ‘just be fair’. ‘Bahala kayo dyan (That’s up to you)’. The President has never told me to grant or not grant the ano [franchise],” he said.
“Kung titingnan mo ang attitude ng Presidente… kung anong teritoryo ng Kongreso, sa Kongreso yan. Anong teritoryo nung Executive, sa Executive (If you would look at the President’s attitude… Congress has its delegated territory, while the executive has its own delegated territory),” he added.
Cayetano, however, noted that the lower chamber would ask the National Telecommunications Commission and the Office of the Solicitor General to explain and present their side in connection with the closure order to shut down ABS-CBN following the network’s franchise expiry on May 4.
In response to criticisms that the current House leadership dragged its feet on the franchise issue, Cayetano argued that the bill had been languishing in previous Congresses.
“Kami ay nagtataka bakit lumalabas na 18th Congress ang may problema samantalang sa 16th Congress, two years ito–2014 to 2016, hindi gumalaw. Sa 17th Congress, three years hindi gumalaw (We are wondering why the problem is blamed on the 18th Congress, when in fact, [the bill] has not progressed in the 16th Congress for two years–2014 to 2016. In the 17th Congress, the bill did not have any progress for three years),” he said.
On Tuesday, Cayetano said the lower chamber decided to forego the proposed provisional franchise of ABS-CBN and would instead immediately proceed with the hearings for the network’s full 25-year franchise application.
The House Committee on Legislative Franchises is set to hear the proposals seeking to grant a fresh 25-year broadcast franchise to media network ABS-CBN on Tuesday next week, May 26. (IA/PNA)