House panel junks ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise

House panel junks ABS-CBN’s bid for a 25-year franchise

MANILA – The House committee on legislative franchises on Friday denied the application of media giant ABS-CBN Corp. for a new 25-year franchise.

By a 70-11 vote, with one abstention, the panel, chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, approved the resolution denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corp. to construct, install, establish, operate, and maintain radio and broadcasting stations in the Philippines. Two other lawmakers inhibited from voting.

Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia said the technical working group that drafted the resolution has determined that the “likely consensus” among the panel members was to disapprove the application ABS-CBN for another franchise.

The previous House hearings have exhaustively discussed the network’s franchise issues, including the citizenship of ABS-CBN chair emeritus Gabby Lopez; the possible violation of the constitutional limits on foreign ownership; reported labor and tax violations; and other violations of the terms of its legislative franchise.

The resolution emphasized that the network’s franchise application is not a press freedom issue.

“It is what it is–a denial of a privilege granted by the State because the applicant was seen as undeserving of the grant of a legislative franchise,” it said. (PNA)

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