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Baka maisahan ni Alan! Duterte makes sure Congress won’t renew ABS-CBN’s franchise with Calida’s petition- report

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President Rodrigo Duterte has made sure that Congress toes the line with regard to ABS-CBN’s bid for a new franchise by ordering Solicitor General Jose Calida to question the network’s franchise before the Supreme Court.

This was how Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) columnist Manolo Quezon interpreted Calida’s move of filing a quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN barely a month before its franchise expires.

In his February 12 column, Quezon said Duterte might’ve stepped in since Congress could’ve granted ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid given the right price even if administration allies dominate the two chambers.

“What this means, though, is that there is the real possibility — probability, even — that for all his fury, the President might find Congress enacting a new franchise. And because of the world-class efficiency with which the Palace is run, it could lapse into law without the President’s siesta being interrupted in time to veto it,” Quezon said.

“So you need something to call Congress’ bluff, and here, the Solicitor General enters the picture with a submission to the Supreme Court that he said he hasn’t even bothered to read in full. And why bother, if the point was to frighten legislators into acting to please the President, rather than do a network-friendly photo-finish that embarrasses the President, saves the network, and leaves delighted lawmakers laughing all the way to…,” the columnist added, without finishing the sentence.

Quezon believes Duterte “hopes to crush ABS-CBN in a vise” with the quo warranto petition, since it is facing pressure regarding its franchise from both Congress and the judiciary.

The President has repeatedly threatened to block ABS-CBN’s bid to renew its franchise, which will expire on March 30.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano recently said bills for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal will not be tackled by the time Congress adjourns on March 11. He said lawmakers are not in a rush to give the network a new franchise since it can still operate after its existing license expires.

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