MANILA – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said members of the House of Representatives would be allowed to vote on bills seeking to grant media giant ABS-CBN a new franchise according to their conscience.
“Well, I cannot speak for the parties, kasi mag-uusap-usap din sila (because they would still discuss this among themselves), but from the start, we’ve been urging a conscience vote,” Cayetano told reporters in an interview.
“From the start we’ve been saying na kung ikaw ay pro [franchise renewal], open mo ‘yung mind mo dun sa mga umaangal. Kung ikaw ay isa sa umaangal, open your mind sa sagot nung [ABS-CBN] management (If you are pro, then you should open your mind to those who are against. If you are one of the oppositors, then open your mind to the answers of the management),” he added.
He noted that the franchise hearings are made public so that the “people can decide for themselves”.
“This is one of the rare cases where representatives will decide for the people, but the people themselves also have a stand on this kaya kailangan maging sensitive din ang bawat isa (that’s why everyone should be sensitive),” he said.
During Monday’s hearing on ABS-CBN’s franchise, House committee on good government and public accountability chair Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado said Cayetano will be submitting a written testimony based on his personal knowledge and belief on matters relating to the network’s alleged bias, partiality and favoritism before and during the campaign period of the 2016 national elections.
Alvarado, however, noted that the Speaker has opted not to personally testify or probe ABS-CBN in order to maintain the fairness and impartiality of the franchise hearing, and not unduly influence the perception of all parties on the issue.
“From the start there has only been one and clear mandate from the House leadership on the conduct of these hearings — that is to be fair, impartial, and thorough,” he stressed.
“As Speaker of the House, we understand why he has chosen not to personally give his testimony or probe ABS-CBN as that might be seen as undue influence on the members of this committee,” he said.
Alvarado said his committee was able to allow all voices to be heard and all issues discussed openly and with full transparency.
In 2016, then Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was the one who filed the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the controversial advertisement made by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Cayetano was able to secure a temporary restraining order against the negative political advertisement against then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte.
The ad showed children reacting to some of Duterte’s controversial remarks and acts. (PNA)