Evangelical churches urge Duterte to 'support' ABS-CBN franchise renewal

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2020 02:42 PM

MANILA - Evangelical churches on Monday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "support" the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corp as it called for support and prayer for thousands of Filipinos who may lose their jobs.

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches said it was "praying for compassion and entreating" lawmakers to "decide virtuously for the good of our country and the suffering families affected by the issue."

The group made the remark as the House of Representatives conducted its 12th hearing into ABS-CBN's fresh franchise bid.

"We also appeal to our President Rodrigo Duterte to give his crucial support for the renewal of the franchise, and may there soon be an opportunity for President Duterte and the leadership of ABS-CBN to engage in reconciliatory talks," PCEC national director, Bishop Noel Pantoja said in a statement.

He added that the hearings have so far showed ABS-CBN was "legally compliant" in issues surrounding its franchise such as its tax payments, the legality of its Philippine Deposit Receipts (PDRs) and the citizenship of its chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo over the weekend urged lawmakers to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise to help provide information to the public as the country fought the COVID-19 pandemic.

The network, which has some 11,000 workers to include those from its subsidiaries, has asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against government's shutdown order. The high court will tackle the pleading on July 13.

The SC earlier dismissed the Office of the Solicitor General's quo warranto petition questioning ABS-CBN Corp's previous franchise, for being "moot and academic." The network's last franchise expired on May 4.

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