MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representative (HOR) on Thursday (July 9) wrapped up its deliberations on the proposed franchise renewal of media network ABS-CBN Corporation.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate presented the summation or arguments as to why the network deserves to stay while Sagip Party-list Representative and Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta presented the arguments on behalf of those who oppose.
Several lawmakers also stood to share their opinions on the issue.
“I say, Mr. Chairman, that a ‘yes’ vote to stop the franchise is a vote to stop perpetuation of an oligarch state. An oligarchy that continues to suppress our people,” argued Congressman Mike Defensor, vice chair of Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability.
“I implore my honorable colleagues to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise. Let us allow the company to partner with us in serving the Filipino people. Let us allow the company to correct the mistakes and hold them accountable so there will be a clear finding of any violation of the relevant laws,” defended Baguio City Rep. Mark Go.
Issues that were deliberated in the past 12 hearings included the circumstances way back after the EDSA Revolution when the ownership of ABS-CBN was transferred to the Lopezes; the 50-year limit of the ABS-CBN franchise; issues on the citizenship of the network’s chairman Eugenio Gabriel ‘Gabby’ Lopez; the issuance of Philippine depositary receipts; labor and tax issues; and allegations of the network’s “biased” reporting.
During the final hearing, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano expressed some points now that the deliberations on the franchise renewal is over.
“So this is what we will have to decide: Totoo bang may isang korporasyon na pinoprotektahan ang interes at ginagamit ang media para sabihing press freedom? O totoo bang may mga nagagalit lang dahil tinatamaan sa news nila?” he said.
Deliberations on the matter have been completed and the members of the House Committees on Legislative Franchise and Good Governance and Public Accountability are set to vote on whether or not to grant ABS-CBN more years in the business.
Should it pass the committee level, it would be endorsed to the plenary and then to the Senate for further scrutiny.
If it passes the Senate, that’s the time it will be forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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