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Renewal or new? Up to Franz Alvarez when to hold ABS-CBN franchise hearing after 4-year wait – Villafuerte

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Talk is cheap.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte Jr. is adamant Congress wants ABS-CBN Corp. to resume broadcasting but even he has no idea when the House will start tackling its franchise.

“Talagang gusto namin mag-operate, ang NTC (National Telecommunications Commision) ang ‘di sumunod,” said Villafuerte referring to NTC-s cease and desist order stopping ABS-CBN from airing on free TV and radio a day after its franchise expired on May 5.

Asked by ANC’s Karen Davila when the House would hold its first hearing with just nine session days left before Congress adjourned on June 5, Villafuerte was noncommittal.

“I think that is for Chicoy to decide, I cannot preempt. Next week is a good time today. We’re gonna meet about it today, we met about it yesterday,” said Villafuerte referring to Palawan Rep Franz Alvarez.

Alvarez is directly responsible for blocking the ABS-CBN franchise renewal application having been been chair of the committee on legislative franchises since 2016.

While Alvarez had the gall to blame NTC for ABS-CBN’s predicament, the nephew of Palawan governor Pepito Alvarez has yet to put the franchise issue on his committee’s calendar.

Villafuerte himself appears to be undecided on what ABS-CBN was asking from the House or how to go about the hearings.

“Is it a new franchise or renewal ba? Do we hear NTC first? Who will speak first? It’s really a contentious issue, kung nag-schedule kami n’yan against ABS-CBN, sasabihin nila bakit against,” said Villafuerte.

“But we will not be swayed by pressures, we will do what is right,” said Villafuerte who hinted the House could give a shorter franchise to ABS-CBN just to expedite its return on the airwaves.

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