Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Monday defended Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from critics blaming him for the shutdown of ABS-CBN.
“I believe the Speaker was sincere and in good faith in writing that letter to the NTC,” Rodriguez said.
He was referring to Cayetano’s letter asking the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue ABS-CBN a provisional authority to continue broadcasting upon the expiration of its franchise last May 4.
However, instead of a provisional authority, the NTC issued a cease-and-desist order stopping the network from broadcasting effective midnight of May 4.
Rodriguez said Cayetano sent the letter “because we had no time to tackle the bills seeking the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise before the Lenten adjournment in March.”
“But it turned out we could not rely on the NTC, which is part of the executive branch. In case of conflict between the executive and legislative branches, it is but natural for NTC to follow its executive bosses,” he said.
“So now we have to do our job. Let us consider my proposed joint resolution of Congress giving a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN up to June 30, 2022, when the life of the present 18th Congress expires. We should also consider my bill granting the network a new 25-year franchise,” he said.
The Mindanao lawmaker pointed out that a joint resolution or a bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the President “is a law NTC cannot ignore and has to obey.”
He also said he is not inclined to support a move to inquire why previous Congresses failed to act on the ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills, and why the NTC and Solicitor General Jose Calida acted as they did on the matter.
“Let’s forget blame-throwing and fault-finding. It’s just a waste of time. They have their own reasons for their decisions. Let’s move forward by deciding whether we give the network a franchise or not,” he said.