MANILA - A lawmaker on Thursday said ABS-CBN Corp would be "free" in its reportage even if Congress approves a temporary franchise for only 5 months.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez made the remark as some journalists fear the network would be on a "short leash" during the deliberation of its fresh 25-year franchise.
"To me this is not a short leash. This is, at this time, the best we can get. Our objective here is to be able restore as soon as possible the ABS-CBN operations," he told ANC.
"There should be no Damocles sword, there should be balanced news. As long as you do that, I don’t think you’d have a problem with Congress."
Rodriguez also said 5 months was enough time for Congress to deliberate on the network's franchise renewal.
"There has to be a full-blown hearing of the franchise application.
All oppositors will be able to present their side, certain alleged violations will be discussed, decided upon," he said.
"Although I personally believe allegations have been sufficiently answered in the Senate hearing have been clearly answered."
Rodriguez had earlier filed a resolution that would grant ABS-CBN a temporary franchise until June 2022. A similar bill was filed in the Senate.
The Senate may amend the House bill but it would require a bicameral conference committee to reconcile both chambers' versions of the measure, Rodriguez said.
The measure granting a provisional franchise to ABS-CBN Corp is expected to be heard on third reading on Monday, he added.
The network had also asked the Supreme Court to halt the implementation of the National Telecommunications Commission's cease-and-desist order.