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Congress can be sued for ‘grave inaction’ over ABS-CBN franchise — Zarate

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Members of the 18th Congress may be sued for “grave inaction” if it will allow ABS-CBN’s franchise to expire next month without even setting the various bills and resolutions that were filed for hearing, Deputy Minority Floor Leader Carlos Zarate said.

Zarate said it is “terribly unfair” to the Lopez-owned media conglomerate considering that it is not their fault that their legislative franchise is not renewed because Congress failed to perform its constitutional duties.

Zarate said members of Congress “can be sued for its grave inaction” if they remiss their constitutional duty to the franchise renewal application of the Kapamilya network.

“It would be best if a hearing for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise be called before its expiration,” he said.

He noted that since the 16th Congress, applications for the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN had been filed but up till now or almost six years after, not a single hearing by the Franchise committee has been called to tackle it.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares stressed the argument that the said franchise cannot be renewed after March 2020 “should be disabused.:

“If the argument that a franchise that has expired cannot be extended, then all the other franchises of other media groups that were extended after their expiry are also void,” said the progressive leader.

“Better if Congress follows its own jurisprudence and hear the franchise of the network instead of changing it in the case of ABS-CBN just because it is a critic of Duterte,” he added.

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