Press Release
February 12, 2020

Instead of letting its broadcast license expire
...says issues vs network best discussed in legislative hearings

Sen. Nancy Binay expressed hope that the House of Representatives would not be hindered from hearing the network's franchise renewal despite the quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN pending in the Supreme Court.

Binay stressed the need for the legislative branch to not sit on the franchise's approval, as it is the job of legislators to discuss and study the merits of granting or refuse franchises to those who apply for them.

"Iyon nga iyong kailangan eh. Paano natin mapag-uusapan kung ano ang aayusin natin doon sa franchise kung hindi naghi-hearing," said the senator.

While acknowledging that the SC has already acted on the petition by asking ABS-CBN to submit its comment in 10 days, Congress still has time to discuss 11 bills seeking to renew the network's franchise and send it to plenary for debates and voting.

"I'm not comfortable sa idea na ila-lapse na lang ang pag-expire ng franchise nang hindi dumaan sa proseso. Parang ang dating is we're not doing our job," Binay pointed out.

In spite of the pending matter in the SC, Congress has its own power to grant or reject legislative franchises for media and other public utility companies and services, regardless of a pending court case.

According to Binay, the issues raised against ABS-CBN could be cured through amendments.

"Naiintindihan ko din naman iyong mga reklamo against ABS-CBN but mas mahalaga iyong freedom to information, access to information. I think kapag nawala itong ABS[CBN], malaking dagok iyon sa access natin to information," said the senator.

Binay said that the allegations of abuses by the network as well as other issues would also best be discussed during legislative hearings.

"I hope that our colleagues in the Lower House would start weighing which bills should be tackled before Congress goes on break on March 11. With regard the ABS-CBN franchise, the Senate's hands are currently tied on the issue until the House of Representatives transmits the approved bill to us," said Binay.

Though the network's coverage of the Binays may not have been friendly, the senator said she will support ABS-CBN's franchise renewal when it comes time for the Senate to vote on whether to approve it or not.

"I will vote for the approval of the franchise of ABS-CBN," Binay said on the sidelines during a hearing of the Committee on Tourism, which she chairs, on Tuesday.

When asked why, she said that her vote "is not about me."

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