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Salceda co-authors ABS-CBN franchise renewal bill

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN got a much needed boost for its congressional franchise renewal bill as House Committee on Ways and Means chair Joey Salceda moved to become additional co-author of the proposed legislation.

Salceda on Tuesday sent a communication to House secretary-general Joel Montales, manifesting that he wants to be one of the co-authors of House Bill No. 676—the first measure filed under the 18th Congress that seeks to grant a fresh 25-year congressional franchise to the Kapamilya Network.

Salceda’s move came with less than five months remaining in the current congressional franchise of ABS-CBN under Republic Act No. 7966 that will expire on March 2020.

Principally authored by Nueva Ecija Rep. Micaela Violago, HB 676 is a refiled version of House Bill No. 8163 which the 17th Congress both under the Alvarez and Arroyo Speakerships failed to tackle during the said period.

About five proposed legislations were recently filed under the 18th Congress which seek to grant ABS-CBN a fresh 25-year franchise.

On Monday, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano admitted that he has a personal grudge over broadcast giant ABS-CBN for supposedly meddling in the political arena during the height of the 2016 presidential polls.

“I feel that there’s certain instances in history and in the 2016 election na naki-alam unjustly some sectors or some leaders of ABS, so how do you sort it out?” said Cayetano in an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel.

“People like me, ako may angal din ako. I’ll tell you this is my personal ha? On one hand I feel that we have to protect the freedom of press and freedom of expression,” he added.

Cayetano last week admitted that the congressional franchise renewal application of the Kapamilya Network remains uncertain although he gave an assurance that the Lower House under his helm will exercise fairness in tackling the matter amidst earlier opposition from no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We will be fair. It’s our duty to be fair, when we will take it up I’ve already stated in public at saka sa mga chairman, tapusin muna ang mga priority bills para naka-focus tayo diyan,” said Cayetano.

Duterte on many occasions has threatened ABS-CBN that he will veto its franchise renewal if ever it will hurdle congressional approval, claiming that he got swindled by the Kapamilya network’s top honchos for not airing his political ad during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential polls.

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