ABS-CBN out of House franchise panel's Monday meeting agenda

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2020 03:41 PM

A media crew cab enters the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center, the office of the country's top broadcast network, following a move by the Philippine government to scrap its franchises, in Quezon City, Feb.10, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA — None of the 14 bills seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN Corp's broadcast license are part of the House legislative franchises committee's meeting on Feb. 24. 

PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, a member of the committee and author of one ABS-CBN franchise renewal bill, confirmed this to reporters on Friday. 

The House of Representatives has yet to hear any of the bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN's franchise, which expires in March. 

The government's top lawyer last week questioned the media giant's license due to alleged abuses, including foreign ownership and going “beyond the scope of its legislative franchise” for “broadcasting for a fee.” 

ABS-CBN, whose news and entertainment shows reach tens of millions of Filipinos online and via TV and radio, said it "did not violate the law."

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said holding hearings into the network's franchise is "not that urgent" because the network can operate until 2022 due to its pending license application. 

However, Nograles warned that ABS-CBN risks going off-air if its franchise is not renewed because an active license is needed for the National Telecommunications Commission to assign a broadcast frequency to a network. 
 
The Senate public services committee will tackle on Monday the media giant's franchise renewal. 

The panel led by Sen. Grace Poe should only hold a briefing on the issue, instead of a full blown hearing that could be deemed unconstitutional, said Nograles. 

The constitution requires franchises to go through the House before the Senate tackles them, he noted. 

With reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News