- Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano gave new dates for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bills.
House Speaker Alan Cayetano gave a new timeline for the hearing of ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills.
In an interview in Zambales, Thursday, February 20, Cayetano said the best timing to start deliberation on ABS-CBN franchise bills will be either May or August.
“What is the best timing? First, lahat ng pro at anti makapagsalita. Pangalawa, lahat ng gustong magsalita, magbigay ng comment, pabor man o hindi, marinig natin. Third, hindi matapakan yung ibang priorities natin na mas urgent,” he said.
“There are two options. It’s that in May, depende kung anong matapos namin in the next three weeks. The longer option is right after SONA (State of the Nation Address),” he continued.
This despite his earlier statements saying they could start the hearing in the first week of February.
“I talked to Chairman Chicoy Alvarez and he’s recommending we start… there are about 40 to 50 franchise bills. So, first week of February daw he will start, and kung sino daw ang may kumpletong requirements, he will start the hearings,” he said.
Meanwhile, the House Speaker argued that the hearings for the Kapamilya network’s franchise is not like teleseryes that are best left with cliffhangers.
According to Cayetano, if they start something they want to finish it all the way.
With Congress taking a recess in the latter part of March, Cayetano sees it best to discuss the matter after the Congressional break.
“Kung maghi-hearing tayo ng dalawang linggo at kulang yung oras at magre-recess tayo, o kahit hindi mag-recess, during the recess mag-hearing, hindi mo naman madadala sa plenaryo, walang mangyayari,” he said.
“Dito sa Kongreso in my experience, kapag inumpisahan natin, tapusin na natin,” he added.
Cayetano’s latest pronouncement came after several Senators and Congressmen urged the House leadership to start the process already.
In a press briefing in the Senate Wednesday, February 19, Sen. Bong Go urged Congress to start to hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise because the more they delay the hotter the issue it becomes.
“Mas lalo natin pinapatagal, mas lalong umiinit ang isyu, pag usapan n’yo. Ito naman ang proseso pag-usapan nyo, then papadala dito sa Senado (kung pumasa sa House), then the President will decide.” said Go.
Sen. Win Gatchalian, on the other hand, said it is not fair to say ABS-CBN franchise bills are not a priority because the franchise is about to expire.
“Well, dapat gawin nilang priority ‘yan dahil malapit na yung expiration [ng franchise], at hindi naman fair para sabihin na hindi priority dahil alam nila na merong expiration yung franchise,” he said.
There are currently 11 pending bills at the Committee on Legislative Franchises.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on March 30, 2020.