MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday ABS-CBN Corp may be back on air by the first week of June, amid swift proceedings on his proposed measure granting the network a temporary broadcast franchise until October.
Speaking on ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo, Cayetano said the network may be able to broadcast again by next month.
"If everything goes well, God willing, Monday matapos namin on final reading, Tuesday nasa Senado. Kung kaya ng Senado one week, the week after next, latest first week ng June, on the air na ulit," Cayetano said.
(God willing, we will finish the final reading on Monday, and transmit this on Tuesday. If the Senate can finish in a week, the week after next, then ABS-CBN may be back on air by the first week of June.)
He also believes President Rodrigo Duterte will be fair and approve the provisional license.
"Ang ating Pangulo po ay abogado. Kung ako ang tanungin niya, ang sasabihin ko 'sir, pang ano lang 'to eh, pang-due process'," Cayetano said.
(Our President is a lawyer. If he asks me, I'll tell him that this is for due process.)
Cayetano said he believes the President would choose fairness and due process in deciding whether to sign the provisional authority into law.
"Hindi ko alam kung ive-veto niya o hindi, pero sa pagkakilala ko sa ating pangulo, abogado eh, fairness, due process," he said.
(I'm not sure if he will veto it or not, but I know the President, he is a lawyer and he will choose fairness and due process.)
The House of Representatives Committee of the Whole on Wednesday approved a bill that gives ABS-CBN provisional franchise until October 2020.
Cayetano filed the bill, as he cited the need for Congress to focus on addressing the coronavirus crisis and giving it sufficient time to tackle the network's "controversial" application for a fresh 25-year franchise.
The Senate also said it would "work expeditiously" to pass ABS-CBN's provisional franchise before Congress adjourns in the first week of June, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.
House Bill No. 6732 grants ABS-CBN provisional franchise to operate until October 31, 2020, before Congress deliberates on long-pending bills giving the media giant license to broadcast for another 25 years.
The interim license will "give both the House of Representatives and the Senate [time] to hear the issues being raised for and against the renewal, and assess, with complete impartiality and fairness, whether or not the network shall be granted a franchise for another 25 years."
"We cannot, in good conscience, sweep the accusations under the rug," read the bill's explanatory note.
ABS-CBN's halt in broadcast last week was the first time it was forced to sign off since the Marcos dictatorship. The shutdown imperils an estimated 11,000 jobs.
It has asked the Supreme Court to stop the NTC shutdown order.
The network, which reached millions of Filipinos through its television, radio and online platforms, said it did not violate the law in its 65 years of service.
News.abs-cbn.com is the general news website of ABS-CBN Corp.
- with reports from Jauhn Villaruel, ABS-CBN News