Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano announced that the House committee on franchise would tackle the renewal before the end 2019 the Lopez family’s ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. franchise.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire in March 2020 and attempts to renew it as early as the previous Congress have not taken off. “Definitely we’ll have hearings kasi may mga issues na kailangang i-resolve. But like any other hearing, obligasyon ng Congress, one to be fair, patas na hearing. Number two, to bring out those real issues and give the other side the opportunity to respond and see sinong tama,” said Cayetano.
“Kung mali yung nag-aaccuse sa issue, no problem. Kung tama, anong resolution noon. It’s not perfect,” he added.
Though Cayetano did not elaborate, he was alluding to the issues raised by President Rodrigo Duterte who has been vocal his desire to oppose ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
Duterte has criticized ABS-CBN management for its alleged bias coverage on him and his drug war. Duterte has also publicly dissed the Lopezes, specifically on how they ran their businesses, citing ABC-CBN’s refusal to run a political ad during the 2016 campaign and allegedly failing to refund him for his advance payment.
Cayetano cited “issues” with the “struggling” media.
“There are issues talaga with the media but there are also challenges with social media. Halimbawa sa newspapers ngayon, maraming struggling.
But isipin mo pag nawala ang media. Lahat ng abuso sa ating bansa eh lalabas. There are issues we have to tackle and first and foremost is the freedom of press talaga,” he said.
But Cayetano was confident the House would act on the ABS-CBN franchise extension bills filed by Deputy Speakers Vilma Santos and Baby Arenas, and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones.
“Siguro before the end of the year, the hearings will start. But we have a little bit of time naman. Kung yung budget one month naipasa,” said Cayetano.