Senator Grace Poe finds it too harsh to cancel ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.’s franchise with Congress not giving it at least one day in a committee hearing to address its alleged violations.
“I will not speak on the merits first of the allegations against ABS or pass judgment. I’m just saying that generally cancelling a franchise without sufficient hearings is not fair. I think that we should continue with the hearings to really be able to determine if there was indeed a violation and it merits a cancellation,” said Poe in an interview with reporters.
“Sa mga prangkisa na nada-draft naming, malinaw na malinaw doon na may multa, o merong suspension pero ‘yung para sabihin na pugutan na ng operasyon, parang napakalubha naman noon,” she added.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire on 30 March 2020 and the House of Representatives has yet to hold one hearing to tackle the more than a dozen bills seeking its extension for another 25-years. Duterte has openly declared that he would make sure ABS-CBN won’t get an extension and House committee on legislative franchises chair Rep. Chicoy Alvarez has followed his directive to the letter.
In contrast to the harsh treatment agaist ABS-CBN, Poe said Congress has bended over backwards to accommodate franchise applications that had clear and serious violations such as the telecommunication franchise of Duterte crony Dennis Uy under Mislatel.
“Yung Mislatel na ‘yan, binili nila ang prangkisa nila sa isang existing franchise pero ‘nung inimbestigahan namin ‘yung existing franchise na ‘yun, marami rin silang violations; at ang isa doon ay meron na silang prangkisa pero hindi nila kaagad agad ginamit ang kanilang prangkisa within the three years. I believe, na mandated that you should be in operation within three years and you should offer, they should have a public offering of the stocks within a certain number of period,” said Poe.
“Lahat ‘yun parang na-violate but because of the urgency of the situation, the House or yung Kongreso, pinayagan nila na ma-transmit dito. In short, in spite of the violations, nakarating pa rin dito ang prangkisa na ‘yun, ‘yung bill na ‘yun so dininig natin kasi galing sa House, they approved it. So dito, we have to look at other issues moving forward pero kung talagang ayaw, kung talagang sabihin mong merong pagkukulang, mabigat na pagkukulang ‘yun,” she added.
For fairness’ sake, Poe said Congress should allow ABS-CBN to state its case in a hearing just like what it did to accommodation Uy’s franchise.