Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto and 13 other House members are urging Speaker Alan Cayetano to save Congress from further embarrassment by starting the ball rolling on the much-delayed franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corp.
In a petition, Santos and other lawmakers noted how the House and its committee on franchises led by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez have been put in a “bad light” following the shutdown of ABS-CBN on free TV and radio with the issuance of a cease and desist order by the National Telecommunications (NTC) on May 5, a day after the media giant’s franchise expired.
Both Cayetano and Alvarez had the gall to rail at NTC for reneging on its promise to issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN to allow it to operate without a franchise and Solicitor General Jose Calida for meddling but even their peers agree that the two were directly responsible for sitting on ABS-CBN’s franchise – Cayetano since he became Speaker in 2019 and Alvarez since he became franchise committee chair since 2016.
“While we take strong exceptions to NTC’s trickery and the OSG’s interventionist action we firmly believe the House now has the primary duty and responsibility to put an end to the uncertainties and confusion brought by the pendency of the application of renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise,” Santos and her peers said.
While the House has important measures to address during the pandemic, Santos and her group said the ABS-CBN issue was “equally important given the impact,, economically and politically, of its continued shutdown in this time of crisis.”
Aside from Santos, the signatories are Deputy Speaker Baby Arneas, Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel, Deputy Minority Leader Isagani Zarate, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas,Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato ACT Rep. France Castro, Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodrigue, Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, Paranaque Rep. Joy Tambunting, and Kabataan Rep. Sara Elago.