MANILA — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano denied Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte is pulling the strings on how the House of Representatives would tackle the ABS-CBN franchise bills.
"I can tell you and look you in the eye na ang ano sa akin ni Presidente, 'just be fair bahala kayo diyan.' The President has never told me to grant or not grant," Cayetano told ABS-CBN News.
The House of Representatives on Tuesday abandoned a bill that would have reopened ABS-CBN sooner rather than later, opting instead to take the longer route of committee deliberations to tackle the network’s long-pending application of a new 25-year operating franchise.
The decision, hammered out during an afternoon majority caucus, was a complete departure from Cayetano’s proposed provisional franchise, which was already passed on second reading last week.
Several lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc alleged that Duterte influenced the decision of the lower chamber.
However, Cayetano said they decided to send the bill back to the committee level because lawmakers have failed to reach a consensus.
"Nung hindi magkasundo 'yung mga kongresista kung six months muna tapos hearing or hearing muna tapos 25 years, ang in-insist ko: Okay if you don't want to give the five months or six months dun sa mga ayaw, we have no choice but go into the hearing," Cayetano said.
On Tuesday, Cayetano said House Committee on Legislative Franchises chairman Franz Alvarez gave him an assurance that ABS-CBN franchise bills hearing will start next week.
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