House set to hear ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills on May 26

Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2020 10:01 PM

MANILA -- House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has confirmed the House of Representatives will finally conduct a congressional hearing on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

He said the hearing is set on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

In an ambush interview on Thursday afternoon, Cayetano said he talked with House Committee on Legislative Franchises chairman Franz “Chikoy” Alvarez and "assured him he has complete autonomy with the vice-chairman and sabi niya, when he starts sa Tuesday, itutuloy-tuloy na ito”.

“I will be making the session hall available to make sure the witnesses na dapat nandoon ay may social distancing at saka there is enough space for everyone,” he added. 

It may also be a joint hearing with the House Committee on Good Government.

“I think naglabas na ng notice si Chairman Chikoy and I think magjo-joint din ang Good Government para yung NTC [National Telecommunications Commission] at saka yung SolGen [Solicitor General] ay makapag-participate din,” said Cayetano.

The lower house last Tuesday abandoned a bill that would have reopened ABS-CBN sooner rather than later, opting instead to take the longer route of committee deliberations.

The decision, hammered out during an afternoon majority caucus, was a complete departure from Speaker Cayetano’s proposed provisional franchise, which was already passed on second reading last week.

Instead of tackling a temporary franchise bill until October this year, congressmen decided to take up the network’s long-pending application of a new 25-year operating franchise.

ABS-CBN's franchise expired on May 4.