Press Release
February 13, 2020

Drilon: Senate review of ABS-CBN compliance of its franchise is in order

In the exercise of its oversight function, the Senate can look into the compliance of the ABS-CBN of the terms of its legislative franchise, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday.

"The Congress, not the Supreme Court, has jurisdiction to review compliance by ABS-CBN of the terms of the franchise granted by Congress, especially that there are pending bills seeking renewal of the franchise," Drilon said.

"Given the gravity of the allegations against ABS-CBN and its implications, it would be a total disservice to the Filipino people if we fail to perform our oversight function," he said.

Drilon threw his support behind Senator Grace Poe who filed Senate Resolution 322, which seeks to look into ABS-CBN's compliance with its franchise following the allegations made by the Solicitor General against the network. Drilon said that while reviewing the network's compliance with its franchise, the Senate could look into the allegations raised by the Solicitor General that ABS-CBN violated the terms of its legislative franchise as part of the oversight functions of Congress.

"The hearings on the resolution can also be justified not only based on its oversight function but also by virtue of its power to investigate in aid of legislation - the investigation will enable the Senate to make a judgment on the proposed renewal of its franchise when it is transmitted by the House of Representatives," Drilon said.

The four-time Senate President also said taking up Senate Resolution 322 would not be a violation of the sub-judicerule.

He explained that under the resolution, the Senate is simply being called to exercise its oversight functions.

Citing jurisprudence, Drilon said, "it has long been settled that the power of oversight has been held to be intrinsic in the grant of legislative power itself. Broadly defined, the power of oversight embraces all activities undertaken by Congress to enhance its understanding of and influence over the implementation of legislation it has enacted."

"The Congress is a co-equal branch that is simply performing its mandated and independent oversight functions," he added.

"As the one that granted the franchise to ABS-CBN, the Congress can carry out its oversight functions at any point in time. Our role does not end with enacting laws. We have constitutional duty to monitor compliance with the law that Congress enacted," he concluded.

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