Just today, the House Legislative Franchises Committee announced that it rejected ABS-CBN’s bid for a new franchise, effectively shutting down the country’s largest media network and reinforcing the belief that authorities are cracking down on freedom of the press.
In a vote of 70 against 11, ABS-CBN failed to win the votes of the legislative franchise committee members.
But who were these 11 congressmen who voted for the ABS-CBN franchise?
Out of the 85 members of the panel and ex-officio members present, only 11 congressmen voted against the recommendation of the drafting committee to reject a new 25-year license for the broadcaster.
They are: Bienvenido Abante Jr from Manila 6th District, Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna party-list, Christopher De Venecia of Pangasinan, 4th District, Edward Vera Perez Maceda of Manila 4th District ,Gabriel Bordado Jr of Camarines Sur 3rd District, Jose “Ping-Ping” Tejada of North Cotabato 3rd District, Lianda Bolilia of Batangas 4th District , Mujiv Hataman of Basilan, Sol Aragones of Laguna 3rd District, Stella Luz Quimbo of Marikina 2nd District and Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas 6th District.
Netizens applauded the 11 congressmen who courageously voted for NO to ABS-CBN Franchise Denial.
Remember these faces and names. These are the 11 people who bravely voice out their support for #NOtoABSCBNFranchiseDenial. You will be remembered. Thank you for votes. We know you did your best. And to those 71 congressmen you have a special place in hell. #Halalan2022 pic.twitter.com/UKOUf6O93x
— WTFuzzz (@WFuzzz) July 10, 2020
Only 11 congressmen voted to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise. Historic. This Congress will be remembered as the worst in history.#NoToABSCBNFranchiseDenial
— DearRobert (@DearRobert) July 10, 2020
A majority vote of 44 was needed to approve a resolution denying the company’s franchise but, with an overwhelming majority of 70 legislators voted to deny the network a new franchise and its 11,000 workers their jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
The voting endangers the employment of more than 11,000 employees in the ABS-CBN group of companies, in particular its broadcast company, whose programs have enjoyed a wide reach of more than 80 million Filipinos, both here and abroad.
But there is a glimmer of hope, according to House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, ex officio member of the party.
There are options that ABS-CBN and the franchising legislators should turn to include the re-filing of a new bill that is going through the same process as the rejected franchise bills.
In this case, the person who voted against the renewal of the franchise — can file a request for reconsideration.
“[One remedy is] when a member file[s] for a motion for reconsideration, but not everybody can file a motion for reconsideration. Only a member who voted with the majority can vote for a motion for reconsideration.”
Bills calling for a new ABS-CBN franchise had been stuck in the House Franchise Committee since 2014, and had not advanced until public attention on the NTC shutdown had forced congressmen to consider the proposal in earnest.
ABS-CBN’s search for a new franchise was further complicated by the persistent attacks of President Rodrigo Duterte, who persistently threatened the network’s demise.