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Sure ka ba d’yan? Palace assures Duterte won’t oppose renewal of ABS-CBN franchise

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte will not block the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise once Congress approves a measure allowing the broadcast firm to proceed with its broadcast operations, Malacañang said.

“If it reaches its desk, for as long as there is no constitutional infirmity, then he will not object to the law,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on CNN Philippines Wednesday.

Roque said securing a fresh 25-year franchise could be a “speedier remedy” for ABS-CBN, which went off air Tuesday night after being ordered to stop broadcasting by the National Telecommunications Commission due to the absence of a legislative franchise.

The network’s license expired on May 4.

“Congress can draft the franchise because Congress right now is in session. And I heard Congressman [Joey] Salceda say that they can probe the franchise bill in a week’s time ‘no, and they have about a month left for their sessions,” according to the Palace official.

Roque reiterated that Duterte instructed him to tell lawmakers to follow their conscience when deciding whether to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise.

“[The President] is absolutely neutral in this regard. There is no double-speak here. The congressmen can vote according to their conscience, and the President will not take it against them,” he added.

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