Legarda explains why she didn’t participate in ABS-CBN franchise vote

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2020 12:49 AM

Finance committee chair Senator Loren Legarda gestures during the Senate budget deliberation on the 2019 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Pasay City, Jan. 14, 2019. Mike Alquinto, ABS-CBN News

MANILA--Deputy Speaker and Antique lone district Rep. Loren Legarda on Friday sought to clear up confusion regarding why she didn't vote in ABS-CBN's application for a fresh franchise in the House of Representatives.

In a statement released on her official Facebook page, the lawmaker said she was "constrained" in the deliberation and voting before the Committee on Legislative Franchises, citing Section 31, Rule 9 of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

Section 31 states that "a member who is the author of a bill or a resolution referred to a committee or, if there be several authors, the first 2 authors, named in the bill or resolution, or their duly designated co-authors, as the case may be, shall be considered as members of the committee of referral for the purpose and throughout the duration of the consideration of said bill or resolution, but shall have no vote in the committee."

"My authorship of House Bill No. 6293 speaks for itself," she said, referring to a bill she filed seeking a 25-year broadcast franchise for the media network after it expired on May 4.

Section 14 of Article 6 of the 1987 Constitution and Section 4 of the Internal Rules of the House committee also "impose limitations on the participation of a member in any matter that directly or indirectly affects his or her business, financial or pecuniary interest," she added.

Legarda noted that she is a host of a documentary series "Dayaw," which is produced by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and airs on ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).

"While I do not receive any monetary compensation as Host of the show, I deem it appropriate to refrain from participating in view of any potential conflict of interest, whether directly or indirectly, in so promoting my advocacy through this project," she said.

During the June 1 hearing of the network's franchise bid, Legarda said her years with ABS-CBN as a journalist became a great part of her life.

"Having been part of this news organization from 1986 to 1998 before I became a senator, those were the years that formed a great part of my life, which I cherished," she said.

Legarda had also expressed concern for the 11,000 employees "who are facing uncertainty with regard to their jobs and sources of income and livelihood at this worst possible time as we face the COVID-19 pandemic."

Following the House committee's decision to reject ABS-CBN's franchise application, Legarda began trending on Twitter as some social media users criticized the lawmaker.

One user brought up her son's solar power firm Solar Para sa Bayan, which was granted by President Rodrigo a 25-year franchise in August 2019.