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Paolo Duterte wants probe into ‘probable violations’ by ABS-CBN of its franchise

Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte and two other lawmakers are urging the House of Representatives to investigate the possible violations of ABS-CBN of its legislative franchise.

House Resolution 853—filed by the President's son, Cavite Representative Abraham Tolentino, and ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap on Monday—directs the House Committee on Legislative Franchises to inquire, in aid of legislation, on the "probable violations" of the broadcast giant of its franchise under RA 7966.



The resolution was filed less than a week after ABS-CBN shut down its broadcast operations after the NTC issued a cease and desist order against the company following the expiration of its franchise.

It claimed that ABS-CBN violated its legislative franchise as it is operating a pay-per-view channel, Kapamilya Box Office (KBO), through free-to-air signals.

"By charging the public with its pay-per-view KBO channel through ABS-CBN TV Plus, it has been gaining huge profits at the expense of the public while using the air frequencies provided by the government for free," the resolution read.

ABS-CBN also continued to operate a pay-per-view channel through free-to-air signals even as the NTC had ordered it to refrain from doing so, the resolution stated.

This, it said, is also a violation of the terms of ABS-CBN's legislative franchise.

Moreover, the resolution claimed that the ABS-CBN Corporation's issuance of Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) to non-Filipino citizens through ABS-CBN Holdings "violates the foreign ownership restriction of mass media," among other laws including the Foreign Investments Act of 1991.

The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Legislative Franchises during the chamber's session on Monday afternoon.

The panel has yet to announce a schedule for the hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise, although Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has said the chamber would proceed with its "fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive" deliberations on the matter. — BM, GMA News