MANILA - The House of Representatives did not heed the position of the Filipino people when it denied ABS-CBN a fresh franchise, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said Monday as a recent survey showed 3 of 4 Filipinos would have preferred the network's license to be renewed.
Voting 70-11, the House legislative franchises committee on Friday denied the country's largest broadcasting firm a fresh license to operate, a move seen by some sectors as curtailment of press freedom and endangering the livelihood of some 11,000 workers.
"It is very clear na yung Congress did not heed the position of the Filipino people," Rodriguez told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"The second question (in the survey) was 'Is the denial of the ABS franchise a blow to press freedom?' People know, 56 percent said it is a blow to press freedom. I think Congress should reconsider its position."
The committee's report on its 12 hearings into issues surrounding ABS-CBN's franchise should be submitted to the plenary, Rodriguez said as he noted that some 200 lawmakers were "disenfranchised" in the panel's voting last Friday.
"Bakit hindi na lang dinala sa plenaryo so that ang magdecide yung talagang representante sa lahat ng mamayan ng Pilipinas, lahat ng congressmen," he said.
"The committee report should be taken to the plenary. We’re going to make inquiries on that to the good chairman so he can send it to the plenary."
Rodriguez earlier said among ABS-CBN's options for relief were to file a motion for reconsideration, have one of the lawmakers in favor of its franchise denial change his vote and file an appeal, and mount a people's initiative for the network's fresh license.
Rodriguez on Monday also questioned the speed of the House committee's drafting group, created Thursday, in releasing its findings the next day.
"Surprisingly the next day tapos na lahat. Very long report, the findings of the TWG, so there is really a question how that was done, and nabigyan ba ang mga miyembro ng kopya niyan so they might study," he said.
The country's telecoms regulator shut down ABS-CBN's free TV and radio operations on May 5 after its franchise was left to expire a day before despite its long-pending renewal application at the House of Representatives.
Last month, 2 alias cease and desist orders were also served by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) against ABS-CBN's digital broadcast in Metro Manila and its sister company Sky Cable's direct broadcast satellite service nationwide.
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