Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

MANILA – Online news publication Politiko claimed that the Palace recently became unhappy with Speaker Cayetano due to his attempt to railroad a bill giving ABS-CBN an instant provisional franchise for a period of six (6) months up to October 31, 2020.

According to the online publication, quoting unimpeachable sources, Cayetano’s proposal to give ABS-CBN a lifeline by granting the network a provisional franchise nearly cost him the Speakership of the House as this did not sit well with Malacañang. The latter seemed to have sent word to lawmakers that Cayetano should be ousted as Speaker.

However, Politiko said, Cayetano was fast to make a clever move by suddenly  turning around on his bid to give ABS-CBN a provisional franchise by immediately calling  for a caucus among lawmakers on May 19, and decided to withdraw HB 6732 and averted a coup orchestrated by the Palace to oust him as the House’s top leader.

As final act to save his scalp, Cayetano then announced at the plenary that he was withdrawing HB 6732 in favor of conducting committee hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise bid.

Politiko went further that the plan to remove Cayetano as House Speaker was hatched as early as May 15, or two days after his surprise announcement that he and other House leaders filed a bill granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise to operate until October 31, 2020.

Backed up by at least 14 congressmen, the Speaker himself filed House Bill 6732 as principal author.

A Committee of the Whole was subsequently convened and it was swiftly approved by the House on first and second reading on May 13, the day it was filed in clear violation of Article 6 (Section 26) which states that Congress shall hold readings on bills on different dates or days.

It was gathered that Majority Leader Martin Romualdez was supposed to replace Cayetano.

Politiko also said “the pressure from Malacañang was so strong that by May 18, House leaders were forced to withdraw the approval of HB 6732 on second reading and open the period of debates.”

There were indications during the period of interpellation that some powers-that-be don’t want ABS-CBN back on air anytime soon Politiko stressed.

ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap reminded his colleagues that he, together with presidential son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte and Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, filed a resolution to investigate the network over “probable” violations of its franchise.

Yap said he suggested that extensive hearings should be done by the House legislative franchises committee on ABS-CBN’s franchise application instead of giving the network a quick way to return to air through a provisional franchise.

SAGIP party-list Rodante Marcoleta, a member of Iglesia Ni Cristo, shared the stand of Cong. Duterte and Yap as he said that ABS-CBN must be investigated for allegedly violating the Constitution and several laws.

Cayetano formalized his withdrawal of the bill on the plenary that day. In his speech, he admitted he wanted to give ABS-CBN a lifeline but the “majority” preferred to drag out the network’s franchise woes.

“We tried to come up with a fair arrangement for ABS-CBN while the House and Senate hold hearings… Mas gusto ko nga on air sila para makita natin kung fair sila o may bias,” Cayetano said.

“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. Kung sa tingin ng mas nakararami it’s time to talk about it, let’s talk about it,” Politiko quoted Cayetano as saying. (ia/

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