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Joint resolution on ABS-CBN franchise renewal will only ‘clog up’ House calendar – Romualdez

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said he will let Committee on legislative franchises chair Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez decide over the disposition of a joint resolution that seeks to extend the congressional franchise of embattled network giant ABS-CBN until June 2022.

Romualdez, chairman of the powerful House committee on rules, made the pronouncement in reference to House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 28, filed by Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar that seeks to extend the franchise of Lopez-owned media conglomerate until the end of 18th Congress on June 30, 2022.

“It is now up to the Committee chairman and members to decide on how to dispose of the HJR No. 28, whether to prioritize it over a slew of ABS-CBN franchise extension bills filed separately by 11 other congressmen,” said Romualdez.

The measure is on top of the 11 pending legislations that seek to grant the Kapamilya network a fresh 25-year congressional franchise.

Romualdez said tackling HJR 28 may only further delay the discussions of the consolidated franchise bill for the Lopez firm since it may further clog up the calendar of Alvarez’s panel, since it also has to consider House Resolution (HR) No. 639 filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman last January 6.

He said since the committee had already met and started consideration of the ABS-CBN franchise bills, he enjoins all stakeholders” to submit their position papers on the issue as soon as possible so that the panel may consider all viewpoints in their upcoming deliberations.

“I pray that the stakeholders in this issue give the House Committee on Legislative Franchises enough time to deliberate intelligently on the ABS-CBN franchise extension,” said Romualdez

There were already 11 separate bills filed related to the franchise extension including the last one filed by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda of Antique only last February 13.

There were also HJR No. 28 and HR No. 639 filed or a total of 13 related measures for ABS-CBN franchise renewal.

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