In compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s cease and desist order against ABS-CBN, the giant network went off air last Tuesday night.
After three days, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano finally made an appearance and vowed to fix the mess that others allegedly made.
In Cayetano’s Facebook post, he said that Congress has no other choice but to deal with ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, and as early as now he will include the discussion for the network as one of their priorities.
Furthermore, Cayetano claimed that future hearings for ABS-CBN will be absolutely fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive.
He said: “We would have wanted to do this in an orderly manner. But what we want and what we have to deal with are two different things. So this Congress has no choice but to once again rise to the occasion and fix the mess others make.
“The Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings in a manner that is consistent with what we have always said. That is -fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive.”
According to Cayetano, the Congress could have been “on track” with priority legislations but they were interrupted by the sudden eruption of Taal Volcano in January and the growing threat of pandemic COVID-19 disease.
He continued: “While we were on track with some of our priority legislation including the swift passage of the 2020 budget, the Malasakit Center Act, and the. Creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, the eruption of Taal Volcano in January necessitated adjustments in the Congressional calendar.
“This was aggravated by the growing threat of COVID-19, which as early as February 14, I was already mentioning as another urgent matter that Congress would have to immediately deal with.”
Along with his Facebook post, Cayetano promise that there would be reckoning for what the NTC had done to ABS-CBN and its 11,000 employees.
He concluded: “As for the sudden flip-flopping of the NTC and the unconstitutional meddling by the Solicitor General in the business of Congress, I promise you, – there will be a reckoning.”
It can be recalled that after claiming Congress had no time to work on ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, Cayetano instead spearheaded a Kobe Bryant exhibit last February 24, 2020, while Senator Grace Poe was conducting a hearing for ABS-CBN franchise. In addition to that, Cayetano stressed that discussing the network’s franchise will just suck the energy of the 18th Congress.
“Kung tayo ay mag-hearing ngayon, it will suck all the energy of the 18th Congress. Mapapabayaan ang ibang mga importante. There has to be some way that we can soberly discuss this. Huwag kayong mag-alala dahil hindi naman mago-off the air ang inyog mga paboritong show.”
It can also be recalled Cayetano has stated that the House won’t discuss ABS-CBN franchise renewal until May.
Cayetano said last February: “Bakit sinasabi kong hindi ito urgent? Don’t get me wrong, napaka-importante ng franchise ng ABS-CBN, hindi lang sa 11,000 empleyado. Pero hanggang March 2022 ay puwede silang mag-operate.”