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Senate can OK ABS-CBN franchise renewal before break if House transmits on time —Lacson

The franchise renewal of ABS-CBN can positively be acted upon by the Senate if the House of Representatives transmits its version before the first regular session of the 18th Congress ends, according to Senator Panfilon Lacson on Thursday.

“Even 'yung last three days namin, kung i-transmit sa amin ng House 'yung House version. Kaya pa rin 'yun, enrolled 'yun before we go on break,” Lacson said during Kapihan sa Senado.

“I, for one, I’ll make my vote known already. I vote for the renewal of the franchise kasi there’s no reason na hindi ka bumoto dahil bumoboto ka naman noong mga nakaraang panahon,” he added.

He underscored, however, that the bill must be certified as urgent, should the lower house decide to transmit it in the last week of the session because there is a three-day rule that is being followed between the second and third readings.

"Kung hindi certified as urgent kailangan next week mai-transmit sa amin," Lacson said.

There are currently 11 bills seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise that are pending in the House of Representatives.

The 25-year franchise of the media giant is set to expire on May 4.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises formally requested the National Telecommunications Commission to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate effective May 4 until the House of Representatives has made a decision on its franchise renewal application.

“As we have been saying from the start, since ABS-CBN will be allowed to continue its broadcast while we are hearing their renewal, there is no urgency that would justify a hasty proceeding. We want to be sure that this matter is given the importance it deserves," House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said. — BM, GMA News

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