Palace on ABS-CBN franchise vote: Let's move onBy VIRGIL LOPEZ,GMA News
Malacañang on Monday asked Filipinos to “move on” from the issue on the non-renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN Corp.
The decision by the House of Representatives legislative franchises committee last Friday not to give ABS-CBN the authority to use free-to-air frequency for another 25 years has been widely criticized, with media groups saying it was an assault on press freedom.
A recent poll by the Social Weather Stations also found that 75% of Filipinos were in favor of Congress renewing ABS-CBN's franchise.
“Maski po tayo manghinayang eh tapos na po ang boksing. At dumaan na po sa proseso sang-ayon sa Saligang Batas, wala na po tayong magagawa. Let’s move on,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
Roque reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte, who had previously threatened to block the franchise renewal over his unaired campaign advertisements in 2016, was neutral on the matter.
“Hinayaan po niya bumoto sang-ayon sa kanilang konsensiya ang mga kongresista at bumoto na po sila,” Roque said. “He respects the decision of a co-equal branch of government.”
Roque also disagreed with the statement on Sunday of Vice President Leni Robredo, who drew a comparison between the decision of the House panel and the closure of the network during Martial Law under then-President Ferdinand Marcos.
“With all due respect, we disagree but we do so vehemently. Alam po natin ang nangyari doon sa panahon ng Martial Law may prangkisa po, pinasara. Pero [ang] nangyari po ngayon, napaso ang prangkisa, hindi po na-renew,” he said.
He maintained that the non-renewal of the franchise was a decision of the Filipino people despite the result of the SWS survey.
“Ang mayroon tayo ay representative democracy. So nakasang-ayon po ang ating demokrasya sa mga halal na representante ng taumbayan. Ang husga po sa mga representante ay pagdating po ng eleksyon. Tama pa rin po ang aking sinabi dahil nakasaad po sa ating Saligang Batas ‘yan,” he said.
The Palace official also said ABS-CBN workers who may lose their jobs as a result of dwindling revenues stemming from the non-renewal of the franchise can avail of government benefits.
“‘Yung binibigay po nating mga benepisyo at pagkakataon sa lahat ng nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa COVID-19 [ay] ibibigay din sa mga nawalan ng trabaho sa ABS-CBN,” Roque said. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News