MANILA - Sen. Grace Poe on Monday said it is a "mystery" why a House panel rejected ABS-CBN's franchise renewal bid, when it gave "full consideration" for the third telco player that sought for a license to operate last year.
Congress gave Mislatel "time to formalize its consortium... including allowing the transfer of its controlling interest to an entity with substantial foreign shareholdings," Poe said in a message to reporters.
"This is far from ABS-CBN's case which was ordered to shut down even before its violations were duly discussed and even after the media entity sufficiently answered all allegations on the committee floor," said Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services which is in charge of issuing franchises.
"It is a mystery why ABS-CBN, also a major media player, is deprived of such consideration and opportunity to rectify whatever supposed violations it committed," she said.
Last week, 70 lawmakers - mostly allies of President Rodrigo Duterte - voted to deny ABS-CBN of a fresh 25-year franchise despite pronouncements by relevant government agencies clearing the network of allegations hurled against it.
"The records on the franchises speak for themselves," she said.
Poe said that Congress should have given ABS-CBN the same "considerations" it gave Mislatel.
Mislatel, now known as DITO Telecommunity, is a consortium of a company of the same name that holds the franchise, China Telecom, Chelsea Logistics and Udenna Corp, owned by Davao tycoon Dennis Uy, who backed Duterte's presidential bid in 2016.
"Congress just put enough safeguards like the requirement to commence operations within a year and requiring a P25-billion performance bond to ensure compliance with all its commitments," Poe said of Mislatel.
"The law is harsh but the history of Congress has shown that it can extend consideration when it needs to," she added.
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