MANILA – Malacañang on Friday said it respects the decision of a House committee to reject ABS-CBN Corp.’s bid for a fresh 25-year legislative franchise.
In a press statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the decision of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN is “a sole prerogative of Congress” that the executive branch recognizes.
”The Palace has maintained a neutral stance on the issue as it respects the separation of powers between the two co-equal branches government,” Roque said.
Roque issued the statement shortly after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises denied the application of ABS-CBN for a new 25-year congressional franchise to resume the network’s broadcast operations.
A total of 70 lawmakers approved in favor of a resolution denying ABS-CBN’s franchise application. Only 11 lawmakers voted against the resolution, while only one abstained.
Roque stressed that while the Palace wants to work with ABS-CBN, it also needs to abide by the House panel’s decision with regard to the media company’s fate.
“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he said.
In a separate statement, Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the executive department does not meddle in the affairs of Congress, which is a co-equal branch of the executive department.
“Both sides of the issues have been heard. We leave it to the collective wisdom of the committee apropos its denial of the renewal of franchise,” Panelo said.
The House hearings on pending bills granting a new franchise to ABS-CBN that began in June focused on the citizenship of ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez III, the network’s issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts, and the alleged labor and tax violations committed by the local media giant.
ABS-CBN, in compliance with the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) shutdown order, ceased its broadcast operations on May 5, or a day after the expiration of the network’s legislative franchise.
On June 30, the NTC issued another cease and desist order, directing ABS-CBN to stop operating its digital television transmission using Amcara Broadcasting Corp.’s Channel 43.
The NTC also issued another cease and desist order on June 30 to halt the direct-to-home satellite transmission of ABS-CBN’s cable firm, Sky Cable Corp.
Malacañang earlier said the NTC’s orders against ABS-CBN would not automatically leave its workers of the embattled media firm unemployed since the network can still run its other media platforms despite the expiration of its franchise. (PNA)