FEBRUARY 13, 2020 – Senators are set to discuss the pending franchise of the country’s largest broadcast network in a caucus next week, the upper chamber’s leader said on Wednesday.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said they will deliberate whether or not they can probe the compliance of ABS-CBN network with its legislative franchise after the solicitor general petitioned the Supreme Court to shut down its operation on the basis of a quo warranto.
Sotto has recognized the concerns raised by Senator Panfilo Lacson on a resolution filed by another lawmaker who sought to find out if the Lopez family-controlled broadcast network has violated any terms and conditions of its 25-year franchise.
“He might be right,” Sotto said. “I’ll call a caucus on Monday.”
Senator Grace Poe, head of the Senate public services committee, has introduced the resolution a few days after Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition before the high court seeking the revocation of the network’s franchise, which will expire next month.
“Due to the gravity of the allegations and its possible effects, the Committee has deemed it appropriate to lay the groundwork for a possible inquiry in the spirit of public interest,” Poe said.
Lacson, on other hand, believed it is better to discuss the resolution in a caucus first, arguing that it may violate the sub judice rule since the SC already asked the network to submit their comment within 10 days.
Lacson also said that the SC should be allowed to deal with the plea.
“It gives no reason why the [House of Representatives] should not report out and debate in plenary the application for legislative franchise filed by ABS-CBN and transmit the bill to the Senate for our immediate deliberation,” he said.
However, Poe maintained her resolution does not preempt the House nor the SC.
“Matagal nang naresolba ng Korte Suprema ang isyu ng subjudice sa Sabio vs. Gordon at sa mga kasong sumunod rito: “On-going judicial proceedings do not preclude congressional hearings in aid of legislation”. (Karen Macalalad/MM)
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