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About face! Andaya puts Legarda’s son’s franchise bid on hold

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – The application for legislative franchise of the Solar Para Sa Bayan Corporation (SPBC) has been temporarily put in limbo by the House leadership.

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. gave him an assurance that he will not tackle House Bill 8179 in the plenary for now until several queries in the franchise application will be resolved.

SPBC is owned by Leandro Leviste, the son of Senate Finance Committee chair Loren Legarda.

Atienza said not only him but but several other legislators are seeking assurance that Leviste’s company won’t sell the franchise right that will be granted to him by Congress if the measure will hurdle in the lower house.

“Mahirap na. Alam niyo naman kalakaran dito sa bansa. Mga mag-apply ng franchises then ibebenta lang sa malalaking kumpanya,” said Leviste.

Atienza earlier took swipe at the House committee on legislative franchises after it approved the franchise application of SPBC despite questions about its operations.

The former Manila Mayor disclosed that panel which is chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez approved the proposed legislation in the committee level even though only two hearings have been held about it.

Meanwhile, the partylist solon hinted that the proposed franchise application of SPBC may be reverted back to Alvarez’s panel for further discussions.

SPBC franchise application under House Bill 8179 is authored by Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap (Bohol) and Compostela Valley Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora.

Citing multiple sources, the Politiko has earlier reported that emissaries of Senate Finance Legarda are busy with back channeling talks with several district legislators for the passage of the legislative franchise of a solar power company owned by her son.

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