Palace: Unlikely for Duterte to veto ABS-CBN franchise bill unless there are legal woes

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 07 2020 05:00 PM

Palace: Unlikely for Duterte to veto ABS-CBN franchise bill unless there are legal woes 1
President Rodrigo Duterte. file

MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will only veto the franchise bill of ABS-CBN Corp if there are issues that goes against the country's charter, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said it is unlikely for President Duterte to veto the franchise bill of the country's largest network should it hurdle Congress.

"Unless there is any Constitutional infirmity, I don’t think the President is inclined to veto it," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

Roque made the remark even though President Duterte had repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise over unaired political advertisements during the 2016 elections.

Duterte in February accepted ABS-CBN's apology over the issue of his unaired political advertisements but clarified that he would leave the fate of the company's franchise to Congress, which is dominated by his allies.

ABS-CBN's franchise bills have languished in Congress for years.

Roque said the company should ask Congress about the renewal of its license to operate, insisting that President Duterte is "neutral" on the media giant's franchise.

"Ang solusyon, kinakailangan hingin ng ABS-CBN ang kaniyang prangkisa sa Kongreso," he said.

(The solution is ABS-CBN should ask Congress for its franchise.)

"Wala na pong ibang magagawa si Presidente kundi sabihin sa kaniyang mga kaalyado sa kongreso bumoto kayo ayon sa inyong mga konsiyensya," he said.

(The President can't do anything else but tell his allies in Congress to vote according to their conscience.)

ABS-CBN went off air on Tuesday night in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission's cease and desist order.

On Thursday, the company asked the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order against the NTC's order.

The last time ABS-CBN was forced off air was during the imposition of Martial Law in 1972.

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