A party-list legislator on Saturday doubted that the ABS-CBN Corporation would be able to secure a franchise to operate under the present leadership of the House of Representatives.
Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta of SAGIP has disputed claims of Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on the grant of a new franchise for ABSCBN television network under the leadership of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Marcoleta, main proponent in blocking the renewal of franchise for ABS-CBN, said the network had to implement reform measures, including the appointment of new management.
“It’s a long and circuitous process,” Marcoleta said in a statement.
“ABS-CBN has to go through major reforms, starting with a change in management and facilities before they are given new franchise to operate.”
According to Marcoleta, the network must address the various violations of securities and labor laws, and the constitutional provision mandating the 100 percent Filipino ownership of a media company.
Marcoleta said Congress needed to conduct a thorough review of the franchise to be granted to the network to ensure that these (franchise) provisions would not be violated again.
Meanwhile, the Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunication Association of the Philippines (FICTAP) asserted that the ABSCBN network must pay penalties amounting to P1.6 trillion for alleged violation of its franchise provisions.
“Before a new franchise could be issued, a broadcast network should first pay whatever penalties that it is supposed to pay,” said FICTAP President Estrellita Tamano.
She said cable operators were also required to pay penalties imposed by the National Telecommunication Commission before permits were renewed.
“There should not be any discussions at the House of Representatives, without the network settling the issues raised against it.”
Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza earlier expressed confidence that ABSCBN would get a new franchise under the Velasco speakership.
“I am really confident, justice will prevail by next year,” said Atienza who represents the BUHAY Party-list.
“I’m not shying away from the responsibility and for the opportunity to come – that I’m working on – to bring back the issue for floor discussion (referring to the new franchise for ABSCBN).”
House Minority leader and Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano, of Abang Lingkod Party-list also said that ABS-CBN could start filing application for new franchise by early next year based on rules of House of Representatives.
Besides Atienza and the Makabayan Bloc, members of the House of Representatives who have filed separate resolutions to grant ABS-CBN a new franchise include Reps.Sol Aragones, Lawrence Fortun, Mark Go, Rufus Rodriguez, Josephine Sato, Micaela Violago, Rosemarie Arenas, Loren Legarda, Vilma Santos-Recto and Joy Tambunting.
Paduano and Kabayan party-list Ron Salo withdrew authorship of House Bill 6901 that would grant a new franchise to ABS-CBN.