Lawmaker questions joint committee approach on tackling ABS-CBN franchise bills


Posted at Jun 01 2020 11:06 AM

MANILA — A lawmaker on Monday sought clarification regarding the "joint committee approach" of the House of Representatives in tackling the ABS-CBN franchise bills. 

The House committees on legislative franchises and good government are currently deliberating on 12 bills and 5 resolutions pushing for the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise and questioning the network's alleged violations. 

In a manifestation, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro asked if the two House committees will jointly hear the measures seeking a fresh franchise for the media giant "up until the end."

"May I know when are we going to discuss solely the agenda on legislative franchise... [S]o ibig sabihin po ba nito 'yung hearing po ba ng franchise ay hanggang sa huli with the joint committee hearing?" Castro asked. 

Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, chairman of the House good government panel, cited a House internal rule which allows several committees to tacked issues of similar concern. 

"Under Section 35 of our rules, in the last paragraph, the committee and subcommittee as far as practicable shall schedule bills and resolutions or petitions of similar and related subject matters in meetings or hearings," Sy Alvarado explained. 

Cavite Rep, Elpidio Barzaga Jr. justified the 2-panel approach, saying the issues are "intertwined."

"We cannot separate the renewal from other issues... I think these issues are intertwined, related with one another," he said. 
House committee on legislative franchises chair Franz Alvarez later said members of the good government panel will be excluded in the voting whether to grant or reject the media giant's franchise application. 

"Separate po 'yung voting, pagdating po sa voting ng franchise, members lang po, solely members ng franchise (panel) and ex-officio members. Hindi po kasama 'yung sa good government," Alvarez said. 

Last May 11, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, son of President Rodrigo Duterte, and 2 other House lawmakers filed a resolution seeking an investigation on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN Corporation of its legislative franchise.