The House of Representatives will continue with its hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise even after going to sine die adjournment.
On Friday, June 5, the lower house went to a session break to prepare for the opening of the 2nd regular session in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s next State of the Nation Address in July.
However, Deputy Speaker Martin Romualdez made a motion allowing all standing and special committees to conduct public hearings or inquiries even when Congress is on break.
“I move that we authorize all committees to conduct meetings, if deemed necessary, during the adjournment sine die of the first regular session of the 18th Congress,” said Romualdez.
According to Romualdez, the motion would allow the lower house to continue with its hearings and produce meaningful legislation aimed at addressing the pandemic and to support the continued hearing of the ABS-CBN franchise.
“We must work doubly hard not only to arrive at the decision on whether to grant the franchise application of ABS-CBN but more importantly, to craft and put into fruition the passage of the priority measures relative to the fight against the pandemic, and the eventual defeat of COVID-19,” he said.
Prior to the start of the ABS-CBN franchise hearing, Speaker Alan Cayetano already promised that the hearing will continue despite the break.
“They will not stop until they are finished so that no one can say we’re stopping the process or dragging our feet.
“I foresee that the hearings would not go beyond July, and by August, after President Duterte’s SONA (State of the Nation Address), we should be ready to decide,” said Cayetano in one of his interviews.
With ABS-CBN’s continued shutdown, the company is said to be losing 30-35 million in revenue per day.
While ABS-CBN management decided to keep all their employees and give them full benefits for the next three months, the company is afraid that if they cannot be back on air soon, retrenchment may be in the offing by August.