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Poe inhibits from leading Senate hearing on ABS-CBN franchise, Gatchalian to take over

Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee on public services, on Tuesday said she inhibited from leading the Senate hearings on the ABS-CBN Corporation's franchise renewal.

"Nag-inhibit na ako kaya idinelegate ko 'yung isa sa mga vice chairman, si Senator Sherwin [Gatchalian]. Siya na ang didinig niyan," Poe said in a virtual interview.

In March, Poe said she will recuse herself from voting on bills seeking ABS-CBN franchise renewal because her mom, Susan Roces, works in one of the company's programs.

She said the bill filed by her colleagues, seeking provisional franchise for ABS-CBN until June 30, 2022, would not do any harm and instead buy lawmakers more time for a thorough deliberation if the franchise renewal.

"Isa 'yan sa magandang remedyo sa ngayon para mabigyan ng sapat na oras na pag-aralan... Hindi naman siguro makakasama na i-extend ng maikling panahon para mapag-aralan ang bill na ito ng franchise kung karapat-dapat ba na i-extend ng 25 years pa," Poe said.

She added that this would also save the jobs of thousands of media workers in the network.

Nonetheless, she underscored that all franchise bills must emanate from the House of Representatives.

Poe added that she is not aware if there are ongoing talks between Gatchalian, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and their counterparts in the Lower House to fast-trask the hearing of the franchise bills.

Moreover, she acknowledged the need to amend the law on regulation of franchises to address this gap which led to the shutdown of ABS-CBN last week after its 25-year franchise lapsed pending final decision of Congress.

"Kailangan natin ilagay talaga sa isang batas na kapag ang prangkisa mo ay mag-eexpire na at ito ay nahain sa Kongreso at ito'y pinag-aaralan at pinagdedebatehan pa, puwede kang automatically extended for a certain period," Poe said.

The lawmaker added that she will study the said possibility to resolve issues that are similar to what is being experienced by ABS-CBN.—AOL, GMA News