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Matagal pa kalbaryo! ABS-CBN could be back on air by July. Tito Sotto explains why

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ABS-CBN may not be back on air by June even if Congress passes the bill granting the network a provisional franchise valid until October this year.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said Saturday (May 16) that the timeline of ABS-CBN’s resumption of operations depends on when President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the bill passed by the Senate and House.

Barring major hitches, Sotto said in a radio interview the bill might be ratified by both chambers by Congress on June 3, the last session day before the Senate and House adjourn sine die.

“Palagay ko on the same day, walang kwestyon kwestyon, walang earth shaking na problema, June 3 pwedeng ipadala sa Malacañang. The President has until July 3 to sign or veto it. Pagdating ng July 3 hindi pa niya pinirmahan, it will be law,” he explained in an interview over dwIZ radio.

“Magkakatalo ‘yun sa pagpirma ng Presidente,” Sotto said, adding that ABS-CBN’s return to free television could be pushed back to August depending on the pace of processing some paperwork.

ABS-CBN went off the air on May 5 in compliance with a cease and desist order from the National Telecommunications Commission. The network’s franchise expired on May 4.

Last week, the House passed on second reading House Bill 6732 granting ABS-CBN a provisional franchise. On May 19, the Senate will start its hearings on the network’s franchise application.

Sotto said he expects at least two hearings to be conducted on bills to give ABS-CBN a new franchise.

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