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Duterte ‘completely neutral’ on ABS-CBN franchise bid – Palace

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte has a “neutral” position on the issues surrounding the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, his spokesman said.

In an interview over state-run PTV-4 Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that Duterte has no power to grant franchises to broadcasting entities, noting that only Congress has the exclusive power to do such an act.

“Hindi naman yan ma endorso ng presidente as urgent dahil merong private interest diyan at talagang hindi ginagawa ang pag ce-certify as urgent ng mga franchise bills. Intindihin niyo po, kahit na gustong makapagbigay ng presidente mismo, wala siyang ganyang kapangyarihan,” according to him.

Roque also urged lawmakers to “vote as your conscience dictates” on the franchise renewal of broadcast giant.

“Ang pakiusap ng preisdente sa kanyang mga kakampi sa Kongreso, dahil talagang ang panindigan ng Presidente tanging Kongreso lang ang makapagbibigay ng prankgisa, in session naman ang Kongreso, halos isang buwan naman ang session ng Kongreso, naaprubahan na nila ang kanilang House Rules na nagmamandato na puwede na silang magkaroon ng session on the Internet,” the Palace official said.

“Ang paninindigan ng presidente, neutral po siya diyan. ‘Wag po kayong mag-alala mga congressmen, hindi po magagalit, hindi matutuwa ang presidente kung kayo po’y ipasa ang ABS-CBN. Completely neutral po ang presidente diyan. Vote as your conscience dictates. Hinding-hindi manghihimasok ang presidente sa inyong desisyon,” he concluded.

On Tuesday, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN due to the expiration of its congressional franchise.

The NTC directed the media company to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide “absent a valid congressional franchise as required by law.”

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