(July 10, 2020) – The Duterte administration on Friday distanced itself from the lower house decision that junked the franchise bid of broadcast giant ABS-CBN.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson said the Palace respects the 70-11 vote of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises not to grant the network a fresh 25-year license to operate, insisting that such power rests with the lawmakers alone.
“The Executive Branch can not — and has not meddled — and will never interfere — with the affairs of a co-equal, separate and independent branch of the government,” Sec. Harry Roque said in a statement, calling the proceedings “transparent.”
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) ordered the network to stop its broadcast on May 5 after its franchise expired the day before.
The president’s chief legal counsel added that as much as the administration wanted to work with the 74-year old network, it has to recognize that the decision of the lower chamber of Congress, which is co-equal with the executive branch.
“The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches government,” Sec. Salvador Panelo said.
Duterte has repeatedly castigated ABS-CBN for the past three years in his public addresses, for supposedly not airing his campaign ads for the 2016 elections. He also took issue with the network’s supposed biased reporting against his administration.
Last year, Duterte made it clear in a speech that ABS-CBN will not get its franchise despite forgiving the network’s owners. (Katrina Elaine Alba/AGD)
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