By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Congressmen now “should heed signals” following the pronouncement of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go that the Lower House should “vote according to your conscience” over the franchise renewal of broadcast giant ABS-CBN, Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said.
Garbin, representative of Ako Bicol Party-list, said the “momentum has shifted to the House of Representatives” to act “with urgency” and must now conduct hearings on the pending legislations that seeks to grant the Kapamilya network a fresh 25- year franchise, knowing that Go being a former top aide of President Rodrigo Duterte has a direct channel with Malacañang.
“Senator Go serves as the eyes and ears President Duterte and sometimes when the President is uncertain, he course it through Senator Go,” said Garbin.
Go on Wednesday stressed that the longer the Lower House prolong the franchise renewal of the Lopez-owned media conglomerate, “the hotter the issue become.”
“We have at least less than two weeks of session days left before Congress goes on its summer break,” Garbin reminded his colleagues.
This coming March 11 would be the last session day of the lower chamber amid the impending expiration of ABS-CBN’s current legislative franchise by the end of March.
Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza earlier has called out House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other administration congressmen for allegedly sitting on the consolidated franchise bills of ABS-CBN, saying that their inaction was due to the reason that they might be afraid of backlash from no less than the President himself.
“The franchise is not being discussed—including the Speaker, inuupan lang ‘yung issue,” said Atienza.
Duterte, a fierce critic of ABS-CBN’s owner—the Lopez family—on many occasions vowed to block the any attempt to approve legislative franchise renewal of the 65-year old company following his bad experience with the network back during the height of 2016 presidential polls.