- Rep. Edcel Lagman want fast action on ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills.
- Lagman urged fellow lawmakers to be independent in hearing ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
Albay 1st District Congressman Edcel Lagman wants speedy action on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bill.
In a press release Thursday, January 2, 2020, the opposition lawmaker plans to file a resolution asking House Committee on Legislative Franchises to “report without delay” the plenary actions for the consolidation of the 9 bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.
Lagman said President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous and repeated attacks on ABS-CBN is “ominously reminiscent of the unceremonious closure nationwide of 392 media outlets” during the start of Martial Law in 1972. He added that if the President has a legitimate personal grievance against the network, he should go to the proper judicial and administrative forum and file his case.
“Any deliberate and arbitrary denial of the extension of ABS-CBN’s franchise will render jobless 10,955 regular and non-regular employees as well as talent and project-based workers, and freeze P84.6-billion assets and investments,” said Lagman in the statement.
The lawmaker also asked his fellow legislators “to act independently in exercising exclusive congressional jurisdiction on the grant of franchises, and must not be cowed by the President’s wanton rantings.”
ABS-CBN’s license to operate is about to expire in March 2020.
House Committee on Legislative Franchises chair Franz Alvarez already gave an assurance that they will start tackling the bill once the Congressional session resumes on January 20.
Alvarez said they will conduct a fair and objective hearing with regards to ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal. However, he reminded that the media network’s franchise is a privilege and not a right under the Philippine laws.
That’s why he said, they would want to hear all sides before coming up with a resolution.
“The advice of Speaker Alan [Peter S. Cayetano] to us was to make sure that we would be always fair and impartial in reviewing the application of ABS-CBN, or the application of any other public utility, for that matter. At the same time, it is Congress’ duty to accept complaints and hear issue(s) brought up in any contain or objection,” Alvarez said.
“This is why we have to hear all sides, and find out if ABS-CBN violated the provisions of its franchise,” he added.
Currently there are 9 bills with 11 solons pushing for the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise.
In the Senate, Sen. Pres. Tito Sotto and Senators Ralph Recto and Lito Lapid have shown their support for the network’s franchise renewal.