SENATOR Grace Poe has filed a resolution directing the Senate committee on public services to conduct an inquiry into television network ABS-CBN's compliance with the terms of its legislative franchise.
In her statement, Poe said the inquiry will not preclude any action by the House of Representatives or the Supreme Court.
The House has yet to act on pending bills seeking to renew the network's franchise. A quo warranto petition, meanwhile, has been filed by the Office of the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court.
“Due to the gravity of the allegations and its possible effects, the Committee has deemed it appropriate to lay the groundwork for a possible inquiry in the spirit of public interest,” said Poe.
“The issue on subjudice regarding legislative inquiries has long been resolved by the Supreme Court in Sabio vs. Gordon and in the cases that reiterate it: "On-going judicial proceedings do not preclude congressional hearings in aid of legislation,” the senator added.
According to Representative Antonio “Tonypet” Albano, House legislative franchises committee vice chairman, Poe has the right to investigate in aid of legislation, but the House will only acknowledge findings made by the senator when she finishes her investigation during public committee hearings where the ABS-CBN franchise is taken up.
“It does not, in any way, conflict our committee power to hear the same violations in our franchise committee,” Albano said.
“But I cannot further comment on the ‘merits of abuse’ that is being heard by Senator Poe, because this will prejudice my judgement as a vice chairman of the said committee,” he added.
Albano noted that he will inhibit himself from reacting to any of the findings and statements made during Poe’s investigation so he can “maintain objectivity towards the renewal of the franchise.”
He also urged fellow lawmakers to refrain from commenting on the “merits of the case” of ABS-CBN to avoid being biased. (SunStar Philippines)