MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday he will file a concurrent resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to grant ABS-CBN Corp a provisional authority to continue its broadcast operations past the expiry of its franchise.
Drilon earlier filed a joint resolution seeking to extend ABS-CBN's franchise until the end of 2022 as bills aimed at granting the country's largest media and entertainment company a fresh 25-year license remain pending at the House of Representatives.
ABS-CBN's current franchise will expire on May 4, 2020, and not March 30, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra clarified on Monday, saying that Republic Act 7966, which granted it, only became effective 15 days after its publication on April 19, 1995.
In an interview on radio DZMM, Drilon said he will file the new measure on Wednesday, which will be submitted to the Senate Committee on Rules.
A concurrent resolution, however, does not have the "force and effect of law," unlike a joint resolution, he explained.
Drilon said the joint resolution, filed at the Senate Committee on Public Services, will undergo a committee hearing, 3 Senate readings, and will need the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Ang batas, sinasabi 'pag wala kang prangkisa 'di ka pwede magpatuloy ng broadcast. If a provisional authority is issued, yan po ang authority na pwedeng gamitin," he said.
(The law states that if you don't have a franchise, you can't continue broadcast operations. If a provisional authority is issued, you can use this authority.)
The provisional authority should run until June 30, 2022 or at least until Congress approves or junks ABS-CBN's franchise bill, according to Drilon.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is eyeing May for Congress to tackle the ABS-CBN franchise bills.
--Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News