Malacanang spokesman Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans to interfere in Congressional hearings tackling ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
Despite Duterte’s constant verbal attacks against the Kapamilya network, Panelo maintained that the grant of media franchise is a prerogative of the Congress.
“The President will not interfere with that prerogative unless there is an evident and brazen grave abuse of its authority that imperils the very life of the state as well as such abuse not only contravenes the rights of the people but its general welfare is likewise put at risk following the doctrine of salum est suprema lex (The welfare of the people is the supreme law),” said Panelo.
Malacanang’s statement came after Sen. Leila De Lima’s statement saying Congressional grants on franchises should not be based on personal whims of the President.
In her latest dispatch from Camp Crame, De Lima said Duterte’s attacks against ABS-CBN seemed a systematic effort to “subjugate Filipino companies under current administration’s political interests.
“It is apparent that these attacks against the ABS-CBN is just part of a bigger, systematic effort to subjugate Filipino companies under the political interests operating through Malacañang, both local and foreign,” said De Lima.
Duterte has constantly threatened to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. The President accused the network executives of swindling after it allegedly did not air the campaign ads that he paid for.
Just recently, he even advised the media network’s owners to sell the company instead.
ABS-CBN has only three months to secure its franchise renewal since its current franchise will expire in March 2020.
Currently, 11 legislators have already filed 9 bills in Congress seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise. The Senate has also announced its support for the measure through Senate President Tito Sotto and Ralph Recto.