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Vilma Santos to file new counterpart House measure to renew ABS-CBN franchise

Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto on Monday said she will be filing a fresh counterpart measure next week seeking to renew the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN.

"Yes, I will," Santos-Recto told GMA News Online in a text message. "It's the right thing to do."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a similar measure in the Senate earlier in the day, six months after the House Committee on Legislative Franchises rejected the network's franchise application.

Santos-Recto, who as an actress starred in many productions under ABS-CBN, was among those who voted against the House panel's denial of the network's franchise renewal for another 25 years.

When asked about the possibility of the measure getting approved this time now that there is a new House leadership, she said: "[I] am hoping for the best!"

While the House franchise panel under the speakership of Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano thumbed down the application of ABS-CBN for franchise renewal last year, Sotto said "nothing stops a congressman from filing a new franchise bill again" under the 18th Congress.

Cayetano was replaced by Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, another ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, last October.

ABS-CBN's franchise lapsed on May 4, 2020. It went off air the following day after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order.

The NTC's action was contrary to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba’s statement before the House of Representatives in March that they will issue a provisional authority to ABS-CBN to allow its continued broadcast operations "based on equity."

The House only decided to start its deliberations on bills seeking ABS-CBN's franchise renewal last March 10 even though these proposals had been pending in Congress since the beginning of the 18th Congress in July. — BM, GMA News