MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives (HOR) Committee on Legislative Franchises on Friday (July 10) junked ABS-CBN Corporation’s bid for a 25-year franchise.
Presided by Committee Chairman Rep. Franz Alvarez, the lawmakers voted on whether or not to adopt the report of the Committee’s Technical Working Group (TWG) “denying the application of ABS-CBN Corp. to construct, install, establish, operate and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the country.”
Of the 85 lawmakers, mostly present via Zoom, 70 voted Yes in adopting the resolution; 11 opposed to it; two inhibited and only one abstained.
“The resolution to deny ABS-CBN franchise application is hereby adopted pursuant to Section 49 of the Rules of the House of Representatives,” Alvarez said.
“All House bills and House resolutions relative to the grant or renewal of the franchise application of ABS-CBN corporation are hereby laid on the table,” he added.
Rep. Jose Antonio Sy- Alvarado followed to clarify the decision.
“Ano po ang ibig sabihin ng laid on the table, Mr. Chair? Parang na-kill na siya? [What does this mean, Mr. Chair? It’s like it’s ‘killed’ already]?” he asked to which Alvarez replied yes.
“Ibig sabihin po itong usapin patungkol sa pag-renew ng application ng ABS-CBN ay hindi lang po isinantabi kundi ito po ay tinapos na nga ngayong araw na ito, tama po ba [Meaning, this discussion about the renewal of application of ABS-CBN is not just being stalled but it is totally over today, right]?” he clarified further to which the Committee chair approved.
“That is correct,” Alvarez replied.
Among those who voted No to the resolution, meaning they were in favor of the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, were House Minority Leader Benny Abante and Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate.
Following this development, media giant ABS-CBN will remain off-air while it is given 24 hours to appeal the decision.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in May issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN after its franchise lapsed on May 4.
On June 30, the network was hit with another blow as the NTC issued two separate orders shutting down ABS-CBN’s subsidiary channels Sky Direct and its digital channels on TVPlus.
This is the second time ABS-CBN was told to go off the air.
The first time was on September 21, 1972, when then-President Ferdinand Marcos put the entire nation under Martial law.
It returned to the airwaves in 1986, months after the EDSA People Power revolution ended Marcos’ 21-year regime. –MNP (with inputs from Rey Pelayo)
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