MANILA — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano denied Monday that a delay in his chamber's action over bills seeking the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corp. was meant to put the country's largest media and entertainment company under the control of politicians.
ABS-CBN's franchise expires on May 4. Cayetano earlier said the House might tackle the franchise bills that month or after President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address in July.
"‘Yung sinasabi namang iimpluwensiyahan sila (ABS-CBN), bakit? Wala namang eleksyon e... Ibang usapan kung sasabihin naming sa inyo, hanggang eve ng eleksyon, walang franchise ang ABS-CBN," Cayetano told reporters.
(Why will people say that ABS-CBN will be influenced? There is no election. It will be a different issue if until the eve of the elections, ABS-CBN has no franchise.)
With 65 years in service, ABS-CBN "know[s] how to resist politicians," added the lawmaker.
"I will do all I can ma-prevent that anyone will take advantage of the situation and try to dictate or influence ‘yung news ng ABS-CBN," he said.
The franchise renewal of media outlets GMA-7 and TV-5 did not encounter any problem because they did not face any complaint of election meddling, said Cayetano.
"Sa (with) ABS, it’s a perennial complaint," he said.
ABS-CBN "does not and will not have its own political agenda," its president and CEO Carlo Katigbak last week told a Senate hearing into the network's franchise compliance.
Katigbak in the same hearing apologized “if we offended the President” over a 2016 election ad that showed video of Duterte cursing and making inappropriate gestures with clips of children asking if his actions were right.
The network was “just abiding by the laws and regulations that surround the airing of political ads,” he said.
ABS-CBN regularly paid taxes and was not facing any complaint or investigation, officials of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission told senators.
With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News
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