Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 9) – Over 90 legislators are expected to decide on the fate of the packaged transmission network ABS-CBN Corp.
Rope. Mike Defensor, Anakalusugan Party’s list, told CNN Philippines that the vote could take place between 1pm and 1.30pm and the results could be out by 2pm.
House Legislative Franchise Committee Chairman Franz Alvarez of Palawan 1st District told CNN Philippines on Thursday that the 46 members of his committee, along with at least 45 other House leaders or ex-officio panelists, will vote after summarizing the arguments on various issues that are chasing network franchise.
Ex officio members include House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante and Vice Speaker of other committees. With their authority they may or may not vote and instead deputize another legislator who is not on the list to vote on their behalf.
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ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Gabby Lopez and CEO Carlo Katigbak were among the network’s top officials answering questions from lawmakers about perceived violations in franchise, ownership and work practices, among others. The twelfth hearing was held on Monday and raised issues of presumptive prejudice in the network’s reporting.
READ: TIME LINE: ABS-CBN franchise
The majority of members must be present before renewing the franchise. If they vote for ABS-CBN, its application, through the consolidated bills, will be forwarded to the plenary to sponsor further debates.
The network’s bid could also end at committee level if panelists deny them the new 25-year franchise.
Section 40 of the House Rules, however, states that a committee member can still move to reconsider the action during the same meeting or the following day after the meeting, that is, if ABS-CBN submits a proposal for reconsideration.
If the committee voted no on renewal of the franchise, Defensor explained that ABS-CBN could apply for a regulatory franchise but under a new name.
“If it is voted down, which means there is a violation, it is not wise to apply as ABS-CBN,” Defensor said. “They can apply as another company.”
“When the application is called off, the frequencies return to the government,” he added. “It is up to the government whether they will pull it out or wait until they will be able to resolve the question of how ABS-CBN or any other company can apply for this franchise.”
ABS-CBN has been in the air since May 5, after the National Telecommunications Commission ordered it to discontinue operations due to the expiry of its regulatory franchise.
CNN Philippines Glee Jalea, Vince Ferreras and Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.