MANILA - Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday reacted to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's remarks criticizing senators at the hearing on ABS-CBN franchise renewal as "sipsip" to gain favor from the Kapamilya network for the next elections.
"When I deal with counterparts from the House, we try to maintain a level of respect and decorum because name-calling cheapens the debate," Poe said on ANC's Headstart.
She added: "When you start name calling, ibig sabihin nawawalan ka ng basehan para sa tamang argumento."
Cayetano said the lower House would offer a "sober, objective and fair" hearing to the media giant after its members reconvene in May.
The network's franchise will expire on May 4.
At least 11 bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN's franchise have languished in the House since July 2019. Cayetano said that the bills are important but not urgent.
The House Speaker added that he would rather both Houses focus on the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act, which can produce 1.5 million jobs.
Around 11,000 regular and project employees and on-cam talents and also their families would be affected with the potential shutdown of ABS-CBN.
"I don't question that Congress is busy. We are busy too. It's really time management, number 1. And number 2, ito na nga 'yung sinasabi, 'Ma'am, paano na 'yan kung mag-lapse prangkisa ng ABS at hindi kami sigurado sa trabaho namin? Sabi naman sa House May didingin o August. Mag-eenroll na 'yung mga anak ko. May pa ba? Mae-enroll ko pa ba anak ko ng May? O hintayin muna natin yung Kongreso kasi hindi pa ready,'" said Poe.
She said senators have done their part to give everyone the opportunity to explain their sides about the network's franchise.
"Yung pinakasimpleng bagay nga pinagdedebatehan natin, ito pa kaya na hindi lang sa mga empleyado ng ABS-CBN kung di sa buong bayan na umaasa sa news, umaasa sa entertainment," she said.
Cayetano earlier accused the Senate of violating the Constitution for tackling issues on the franchise of ABS-CBN.
"Speaker Cayetano is a very intelligent politician and he's been a lawmaker for many years and he should know. It's in the Constitution that grants both houses of Congress the right for oversight," said Poe.
"Section 6, article 21 allows us to conduct hearings in aid of legislation and to find out if the franchise holders are compliant of the agreements they had with the government," the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services said.