Several lawmakers have linked House Speaker Alan Cayetano to the eventual denial of ABS-CBN franchise renewal.
Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, and Paranaque Rep. Joy Tambunting all pointed to Cayetano as the reason for Congress’ rejection of ABS-CBN franchise.
According to the three, Cayetano may have influenced the legislative franchises committee to decide against ABS-CBN as a gift to President Rodrigo Duterte in exchange for retaining the speakership.
Cayetano had entered into a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco. The term-sharing brokered by no less than President Duterte is set to end in October with Velasco assuming the speakership until 2022.
The three said there were reports that Cayetano allegedly asked the President to let him stay in his post in exchange for ABS-CBN franchise denial which President Duterte lauded in his latest State of the Nation Address.
Atienza and Lagman, however, said that they wouldn’t allow it to happen because the agreement should be honored.
“We shouldn’t allow that. A gentleman’s agreement is a gentleman’s agreement. It should be honored no matter what,” he stressed.
Tambunting meanwhile said every member of the house knows about the term sharing and they’ll be all eyes on that.
The ABS-CBN franchise renewal was rejected by 70 congressmen on July 10. This after Cayetano’s repeated prior statements that he cannot imagine a world without ABS-CBN. He, however, in the latter part of the congressional hearings suddenly brought up issues against the Kapamilya network even testifying against it with regards to biased reporting.
Meanwhile, Atienza and Tambunting are optimistic that once the franchise renewal report will be discussed in plenary there’ll be a chance that the decision will be reversed and ABS-CBN can finally come back on the air.
“We have to review the committee report before the plenary no matter what the outcome may be. We have to follow the process and should not ignore it just because of a predicted outcome. That report is not final and may not be even legal,” Atienza argued.
“I believe we have a fighting chance if we do it through a secret vote. There are 304 House members. Only 70 voted against the franchise,” said Tambunting.