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Franchise denial a dictatorial move? Palace ‘vehemently’ disagrees with Robredo

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By Prince Golez

Malacañang denied Monday that the rejection of media giant ABS-CBN’s franchise was a dictatorial move.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Vice President Leni Robredo likened the denial of the network’s fresh franchise application to its first shutdown during martial law under the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“With all due respect, we disagree, but we do so vehemently. Alam natin ang nangayri dun sa panahon ng martial law, may prangkisa po, pinasara. Pero ang nangyari po ngayon, napaso po ang prangkisa, hindi na-renew,” Roque said in his virtual presser.

“Alam ko po sinasabi nila na ang isyu nito ay karapatan ng malayang pamamahayag. Pero kapag ang pamamahayag ay nakadepende sa prangkisa, kinakailangan masunod din ang probisyon ng Konstitusyon na dapat merong prangkisa na nanggaling sa mababang kapulungan (ng Kongreso). We beg to differ, with due respect to the Vice President,” he added.

In a 70-11 vote, the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchises junked Friday the bid of ABS-CBN to renew its legislative franchise. Two congressmen inhibited and one opted to abstain.

Last May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission ordered the closure of the broadcaster after its 25-year franchise expired.

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