TIMELINE: ABS-CBN franchise renewal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2020 02:09 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2020 04:18 PM

ABS-CBN employees and press freedom advocates join the solidarity gathering outside the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center in Quezon City, Friday. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Senate on Monday is set to tackle issues hounding the broadcast franchise of ABS-CBN Corp., the Philippines' largest media network.

Here are key events in the network's bid to renew its license to operate:

March 30, 1995

- The franchise of ABS-CBN Corp was approved through Republic Act No. 7966, with an expiration date of March 30, 2020.


June 11, 2016

- ABS-CBN said it had opted for an early renewal application in September 2014 and "went through the normal legislative process." But it later withdrew its application "due to time constraints."


April 27, 2017

- President Rodrigo Duterte, in a chance interview, said he would formally block the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise after accusing the company of "swindling."

Duterte said the network failed to air his campaign ad before the 2016 polls and then failed to return the money.


December 3, 2019

- The President told ABS-CBN not to expect a franchise renewal, saying he would "see to it that you're out."


December 30, 2019

- Duterte, in a speech in Cotabato, told ABS-CBN management to just sell the company.


February 10, 2020

- The Office of the Solicitor General questioned the current franchise of ABS-CBN Corp and its subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc., before the Supreme Court through a quo warranto petition.

- On the same day, ABS-CBN said the Solicitor General's allegations were "without merit."

- Several lawmakers hit the move of the government's top lawyer, saying it "usurped" on the exclusive power of Congress to review franchises.

- Buhay partylist Rep. Jose Atienza, Jr., in a privilege speech, asked House Committee on Legislative Franchises chair Rep. Franz Alvarez to act on bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN franchise or resign.

- Malacañang distanced Duterte from the Solicitor General's move, saying the chief executive's verbal attacks against ABS-CBN Corp. were unrelated to the quo warranto petition.


February 11, 2020

- The Supreme Court gave ABS-CBN 10 days to answer the Solicitor General's petition.

- Senator Christoper "Bong" Go, a longtime aide of Duterte, said the latter has "nothing to do" with Calida's petition.

- House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano vowed an impartial hearing on bills for ABS-CBN franchise renewal

- Although Congress has yet to tackle bills seeking to renew the network's franchise, ABS-CBN may continue to operate beyond the expiration of its license to operate, according to Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.


February 12, 2020

- ABS-CBN released a reaction to Albano's statement, expressing appreciation to "the commitment of Congress to go through the renewal process at the appropriate time."

- Senator Grace Poe filed a resolution "directing the Senate Committee on Public Services to look into, in aid of legislation, on the operations of ABS-CBN Corporation to determine compliance with the terms and conditions of its franchise under Republic Act No. 7966."


February 13, 2020

- ABS-CBN Chief Operating Officer for Broadcast Cory Vidanes released a statement thanking the network's supporters.


February 14, 2020

- Speaker Cayetano said ABS-CBN franchise bills are "not that urgent," adding that the company can continue to operate through 2022 pending the passage of the new franchise bills.

- ABS-CBN employees and supporters gathered at Sgt. Esguerra Avenue in Quezon City to call for the network's franchise renewal.


February 17, 2020

- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon filed Senate Joint Resolution No. 11, seeking the extension of ABS-CBN's current franchise until Dec. 31, 2022 amid the limited session days in Congress before the expiration of the company's license to operate.


February 18, 2020

- Solicitor General Jose Calida asked the Supreme Court to issue a gag order on ABS-CBN and "parties and persons acting on their behalf" relating to statements surrounding the quo warranto petition.

- The Supreme Court told ABS-CBN to comment on the Solicitor General's plea within 5 days.

- The Senate initially set its hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise issue on Feb. 27, and later moved it to Feb. 24.

- Salvador Panelo, the presidential spokesman, said Duterte "does not want" ABS-CBN Corp to shut down despite the chief executive's repeated criticism of the network.


February 19, 2020

- Sen. Bong Go told the House of Representatives to act on the pending bills for ABS-CBN's franchise.


February 20, 2020

- ABS-CBN President and CEO Carlo Katigbak issued a videotaped message

- Speaker Cayetano said the House of Representatives may tackle bills on ABS-CBN's franchise in May or after Duterte's fifth State of the Nation Address in July


February 21, 2020

- Sen. Grace Poe invited Solicitor General Calida at the Senate public services committee's hearing on ABS-CBN's franchise set on Monday, Feb. 24.

- ABS-CBN employees, supporters, and celebrities showed up for a unity walk around the network's compound in Quezon City.


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