SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
In the wake of the public furor coming from the Solicitor General’s filing of a quo warranto case before the Supreme Court asking for the forfeiture of the legislative franchise of broadcast network ABS-CBN, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is urging the network to do some “soul-searching” to reflect on “how we have all reached this point.”
According to Cayetano, “Under the leadership and guidance of President Duterte, many of our nation’s institutions - including Congress - has had to take a long hard look at itself. To reflect on what our role is in nation-building and what reforms are needed and how best we can serve God and the Filipino people. Maybe the media, especially ABS-CBN, should also take this critical time (to do the same).”
He also explained that in line with the President’s legislative agenda, the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN is among issues affecting the nation that Congress has been carefully reviewing.
“This is why we continue to work closely with Malacañang regarding the important issues affecting the country, including the passage of the National budget, and several priority bills of the President such as securing sources of revenue to fund free quality education and universal healthcare.”
Other more recent concerns cited by Cayetano include the spread of NCoV and the African Swine Flu, the rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by the Taal Volcano eruption, and the Visiting Forces Agreement.
The Speaker assured that Congress will fulfill its constitutional mandate to review and decide on the the franchise issue, despite the Office of Solicitor General’s pending action before the Supreme Court.
"This constitutional duty of Congress does not preclude other branches of government to do as it sees fit with regard to this matter. But neither should it divest Congress of its powers nor will their actions stop us from doing what we must do, " Cayetano emphasized.
Further, Speaker Cayetano affirms Congress’ commitment to conduct an impartial hearing “where those who are against or in favor of the renewal may make their case.” He noted that this is consistent with the President’s stand on the protection of the freedom of expression.
As to the timetable for the hearings, Cayetano says that while “there are certain interests who want to rush this process, we stand by the leadership of the 18th Congress and The Committee in Legislative Fanchises on how to prioritize urgent and important legislation.
We also commit that the 18th Congress shall study this issue from all aspects in order to protect the interest of the public.”