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Let Congress take up ABS-CBN franchise — Robredo

By Raymund Antonio

If broadcast giant ABSCBN Corp. had committed violations, Vice President Leni Robredo said it should be discussed in the proper forum and not through a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Vice President Leni Robredo
(Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo was referring to Congress, which has the mandate to grant or deny franchises, when interviewed after the general assembly of the Senior Citizen Federation in Pili, Camarines Sur.

“Alam natin lahat na iyong Kongreso iyong may kapangyarihan na mag-extend, na magbigay ng panibagong franchise. Nag-file ng quo warranto—naaabuso yata iyong provision for quo warranto,” she said.

(We all know that Congress has the power to extend, grant a new franchise. The quo warranto was filed–the provision for quo warranto is being abused.)

“Kung mayroong alleged na violations, bakit hindi ito i-discuss sa tamang forum? Bakit hindi siya i-discuss doon sa hearings sa Kongreso na ito iyong prosesong binibigay ng batas?” Robredo asked.

(If there are alleged violations, why don’t we discuss it in the proper forum? Why can’t this be discussed in the hearings of Congress, which is the process under the law.)

The vice president has already criticized Calida’s move as “harassment and abuse of power,” which she claimed set a dangerous precedent that can affect other media entities as well.

Calida accused ABS-CBN of “highly abusive practices benefitting a greedy few at the expense of millions of its loyal subscribers” and also having a form of foreign ownership, citing its Philippine Depository Receipts.

Robredo questioned the timing when Calida filed the petition a month before ABS-CBN’s franchise expires on March 30.

“Magla-lapse na sa March. Parang napaka-timely naman yata noong pag-file ng quo warranto. Finile iyong mga bills as early as 2017, hanggang ngayon hindi pa rin hini-hearing,” she said.

(It will lapse in March. It seems the filing of the quo warranto is timely. The bills were filed as early as 2017, but until now they have yet to be heard.)

Robredo, who is the leader of the opposition, made a call to lawmakers to uphold the voice of the people.

“This is not just about the business of media outlets but it affects the people who are hoping to have access to unbiased information,” she said in Filipino.

“We expect our lawmakers who are representatives of the people to deliver the voice of the people. They should not serve a few who has a different mentality,” she added.

Read more: SolGen files quo warranto petition vs. ABS CBN

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