By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has urged House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to direct the 46-man Committee on legislative franchises to convene at once in order to debate and decide on the pending franchise renewal bills seeking of broadcast giant ABS-CBN.
Atienza said that the “stubborn refusal” of franchise panel chair Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez to call a meeting to tackle the renewal of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise “has made a mockery of the House as a deliberative body.”
“Congress and all its committees are supposed to be deliberative bodies. But we cannot consider and debate on a measure if the chairperson of the committee won’t even call a meeting,” he said.
Atienza stressed many of these proposed legislations that seek to grant the Lopez-owned media conglomerate a fresh 25-year franchise “have been pending for months” and Alvarez “cannot just ignore these bills put forth by his colleagues.”
A check with the House website indicates that the last time Alvarez’s panel actually held a meeting was three months ago, or on Nov. 13, 2019.
Meanwhile, Atienza dismissed the Office of the Solicitor General’s petition to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise through a quo warranto case as “a frivolous legal action that is bound to be dismissed by the Supreme Court.”
Atienza noted that “Congress has the sole power to grant and repeal legislative franchises.”