- ABS-CBN’s franchise can be extended even after March 30, 2020.
House Committee on Legislative Franchises Vice Chairman Rep. Antonio Albano said ABS-CBN will not automatically shut down even if it reaches the franchise expiration.
In a statement to the media, Albano explained that after March 30, 2020, the Kapamilya network’s franchise will be deemed extended.
“May I remind the public that even if the ABS-CBN franchise expires on the said date on March, it does not mean that ABS-CBN will close completely because the rule of thumb in the committee, we were briefed on this while this 18th Congress is ongoing, hindi po titigil ang services ng ABS-CBN hanggang po matapos ang (ABS-CBN’s services will not be terminated until the end of the) 18th Congress,” said Albano.
Senate President Tito Sotto agreed with this, saying since there are already pending bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise, it is considered extended until such time that Congress decides to grant or deny the application.
“Basta as long as may naka-file na bill, it is deemed extended until matapos ‘yung 18th Congress at hindi pa rin hini-hear,” said Sotto
“It has happened so many times with other franchises. That is the operation of law… If it is not approved until March of 2022, that is the only time it is terminated,” Sotto added.
There are currently 11 bills filed in Congress aimed at renewing the Kapamilya network’s franchise.
Senator Bong Go meanwhile said ABS-CBN can go to the National Telecommunications Commission to get a probational permit to operate.
The temporary permit could be the network’s license to continue broadcasting while their franchise renewal application is still pending in Congress.
“While hindi pa nare-renew ng Congress, puwede sila mag-operate [through a] temporary permit ata mula sa National Telecommunications Commission,” said Go.
Quezon City Rep. Jericho Nograles shared Go’s view saying the expiration of ABS-CBN’s franchise would not mean automatic close down of the broadcasting company.
“It doesn’t mean na automatic na mag off the air (It does not mean that automatic they will go off the air), but it will be off the air if the NTC will not give them provisional authority pending the hearings of Congress, or the dissipation of Congress when it comes to congressional franchise,” Nograles said.
Meanwhile aside from lawmakers, Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas legal counsel Rudolph Jularbal also said that ABS-CBN should still be allowed to continue its operation since it has already applied for renewal prior to the expiry of its franchise.
In an interview with DZMM, Jularbal said ABS-CBN’s license to operate is deemed extended granted that their franchise application in Congress is pending.
“If the holder of a franchise applied for its renewal before it expired, the license to operate would be “deemed extended until it is expressly denied or granted” by Congress,” he said
“Also in Congress, we have had cases of members filing for renewal before their expiration tapos (then) technically the date of their franchise has already expired pero (but) since [the application for renewal is] pending, tuloy pa rin ang operation (the operation would just continue),” Jularbal added.