Not yet too late: Congress still has enough time to pass ABS-CBN franchise, says Cayetano
By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said there is still enough time for Congress to approve the embattled franchise renewal application of broadcast giant ABS-CBN amid its expiration by the end of March.
In an ambush interview in Batangas City, Cayetano said two or three hearings will do for the House committee on legislative franchises if its members really want to approve the nine proposed legislations that seek grant a fresh 25-year franchise to the Kapamilya network.
“We have enough time,” said Cayetano.
He said that there is enough time table for the Lower House to approve the franchise bill of ABS-CBN, despite only less than 20 session days remaining before Congress adjourns for a long summer break, starting March 11.
Cayetano noted that it took only two to three working days for them to be able to approve the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget on committee level before it was endorsed by the appropriations panel to the plenary.
“Kung ‘yung budget na P4.1-trillion natapos natin ng isang buwan, yun pa kayang franchise na siguro, sobra, ‘yung issues, two, three hearings sobrang exhaustive na yun,” said Cayetano.
ABS-CBN needs to secure the passage of their congressional franchise on or before March 30, 2020—the expiration date set by its current franchise under Republic Act No. 7966—or the network will have to cease operating as a broadcast network if Congress fails to act on the franchise bill.a
Cayetano on Wednesday revealed that he recently talked with House committee on legislative franchise chair Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez and he was told by the Palawan solon that he is set to hear around 50 franchise renewal bills, pending before his panel by first week of February.
“He will start and kung sino daw ang mga kumpleto ang requirements, he will start the hearings. So, baka we can update you early next week kasi kailan ba first week. February, next week… after next week siguro we’ll start na ng mga hearings,” the Speaker said.