ABS-CBN franchise hearings among longest in House panel history: solon

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2020 01:33 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives' inquiry into ABS-CBN Corp's bid for a fresh franchise is among the longest conducted by the chamber's committee, a lawmaker said Monday.

Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza said other franchises had up to 4 hearings only, whereas ABS-CBN would face lawmakers this week for the 8th and 9th time in what he called a "fishing expedition."

"Kung ang takbo ay paulit-ulit na accusation with no conclusion whatsoever... nakakasawa naman. Unfair, to say the least. Unfair to ABS-CBN, unfair to the employees of ABS-CBN, unfair to the Filipinos who are dependent on ABS-CBN for their accurate news delivery, information, entertainment. Hindi tama ang nangyayari," he told ABS-CBN News.

(If the inquiries continue with accusations and no conclusion whatsoever...it gets tiresome.)

“It's time to call spade a spade, let's vote on the matter and let's hear the collective voices of the majority of members of Congress. And whatever decision is made, we should respect it."

Atienza added that hearings on franchise renewals should only look into contributions by the franchisee to the country and its overall performance, and should not be investigative or prosecutorial. 

The lawmaker said after 7 hearings, there was still no proof of any violations committed by ABS-CBN, as agencies such as the Justice Department, the Bureau of Immigration and the Securities and Exchange Commission debunked claims of lawmakers against the network's franchise renewal.

Atienza said the fate of ABS-CBN's franchise would be resolved if House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano orders the committee to do so.

“Anyway, this is not a decision solely on the shoulders of Cong. (Rodante) Marcoleta who has monopolized the time of this hearing, and Cong. (Jesus) Remulla who seems to be lording it over, strutting like a peacock," he said.

Atienza added that he would also like to return to physical sessions, saying that under the current video conferencing scheme, congressmen cannot talk freely and their comments are screened.