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Solon calls for joint reso to allow ‘status quo’ on ABS-CBN franchise

A lawmaker on Sunday suggested the drafting of a Joint Concurrent Resolution (JCR) in Congress to have the National Telecommunications Commission formally recognize precedent situations and to maintain the "status quo" as bills to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation were pending before the House of Representatives.

In a statement, Ako Bicol party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr. said the JCR would "calm tensions while creating the space and time for solutions for the pending franchises of ABS-CBN Corporation and ABS-CBN Convergence."

"This JCR would give clarity and substance to the emerging consensus that ABS-CBN can continue to operate while the franchise bills are pending in the 18th Congress based on precedents. This JCR is well within the power of Congress to grant," he said.

"It will also assure the 11,000 workers at ABS-CBN that they still have jobs up until both Houses of Congress have decided on the matter with finality," he added.

At the same time, Garbin said the JCR was Congress' assurance to the people that freedom of expression, creativity, and press freedom would not be curtailed due to the expiration of the ABS-CBN franchise.

Currently, there were 11 bills pending before the House of Representatives on the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise, which was set to expiring on March 30.

However, Vice-Chair of the House Legislative Franchises panel and Isabela Representative Tonypet Albano had said the network could continue to operate until June 30, 2022 or at the end of the 18th Congress, even with an expired franchise, due to the pending bills.

Last Monday, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto petition seeking to revoke its franchise due to alleged foreign ownership and the bypassing of the NTC's authority.

ABS-CBN has maintained that it had not violated any law. — Erwin Colcol/DVM, GMA News