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Dedma! House panel fails to tackle ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The House Committee on Legislative Franchise has apparently snubbed the franchise renewal of network giant ABS-CBN during its recent hearing despite swift action on three other pending franchise applications.

Alvarez said the three legislative franchise applications were approved by the House panel on the first day they were included in the agenda, explaining that the swift action was in compliance to House rules—after it hurdled third reading passage during the 17th Congress.

Alvarez said the three legislative franchise applications were approved by the House panel on the first day they were included in the agenda, explaining that the swift action was in compliance to House rules since it was also approved on third reading during the 17th Congress.

Section 48 of the House Rules allows legislations approved by preceding Congress to be fast tracked.

Meanwhile, the panel has yet to act to the Kapamilya network’s application for franchise renewal since it was not calendared for discussion during the recent committee hearing.

Four proposed legislation for the ABS-CBN’s franchise were first filed during the 17th Congress but were never taken up for public hearing by the legislative franchise panel.

The network will have to cease operating as a broadcast network if Congress fails to act on a franchise extension before the expiration date set by Republic Act 7966 by March 2020.

Five measures were recently filed under the 18th Congress which seek to grant ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the application for franchise is done through a normal legislative process in both the Lower House and Senate and is still need to be signed by the President after its congressional approval.

Article 12 Section 11 of the present charter states that “Neither shall any such franchise or right be granted except under the condition that it shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress when the common good so requires.”

The next hearing of the franchise panel has yet to be announced since congressmen are currently busy with plenary debates over the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

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