MANILA – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday dismissed as “hundred percent false” the reports alleging that he asked President Rodrigo Duterte to keep the speakership post as a reward for the rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise application.
“Wala kaming usapan ng Pangulo about staying, wala kaming usapan ng Pangulo na any reward or whatever sa ABS-CBN (The President and I did not have any agreement about staying [as a Speaker], or about any reward or whatever regarding ABS-CBN [franchise denial]),” Cayetano told reporters in an interview.
Cayetano stressed that the only commitment he made to Duterte was to hold fair hearings on ABS-CBN’s franchise.
“Ang commitment ko lang sa kanya was to have a fair hearing, and then to decide kung ano ang best sa ating bansa (The only commitment I made to him was to have a fair hearing and then decide what’s best for the country),” Cayetano said.
Cayetano also dared those who made the accusations to undergo a lie detector test with him to find out who is telling the truth.
“Kung sinuman gustong mag-accuse, eye-to-eye, mag-lie detector test tayo. Kung sinong matalo sa lie detector test ay tumigil na sa kanyang profession (Whoever wants to accuse me, let’s undergo a lie detector test, eye-to-eye. Whoever loses in the lie detector test should quit their profession),” Cayetano said.
Under the term-sharing deal brokered by Duterte, Cayetano would serve as the House Speaker for the first 15 months, or until October 2020, while Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco would take over and assume the highest position at the House of Representatives for the remaining 21 months or until 18th Congress ends in 2022.
On July 10, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved by a 70-11 vote, with one abstention, the resolution denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines. Two other lawmakers inhibited from voting.
The previous House hearings have exhaustively discussed the network’s franchise issues, including the citizenship of ABS-CBN chair emeritus Gabby Lopez; the possible violation of the constitutional limits on foreign ownership; reported labor and tax violations; and other violations of the terms of its legislative franchise.
ABS-CBN, upon the directive of the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) shutdown order, ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, or a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise.
The NTC on June 30 also issued two cease and desist orders, directing ABS-CBN to halt the operation of its digital television transmission using Amcara Broadcasting Corp.’s Channel 43 and the direct-to-home satellite transmission of its cable firm, Sky Cable Corp. (PNA)