House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano finally spoke up Friday on the issue of the ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
In a recent Facebook post, which earned a lot of angry reactions, Cayetano quoted Jeremiah 18:23 before answering accusations that he played a part in the media giant’s recent shutdown.
“As early as my first month as Speaker of the House of Representatives I already put on record what the priorities of Congress would be, including when we would tackle the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.”
Cayetano says the eruption of Taal Volcano interrupted certain priorities in Congress.
“While we were on track with some of our priority legislation – including the swift passage of the 2020 budget, the Malasakit Center Act, and the creation of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, the eruption of Taal Volcano in January necessitated adjustments in the Congressional calendar.”
As well as the outbreak of COVID-19.
“This was aggravated by the growing threat of COVID-19, which as early as February 14, I was already mentioning as another urgent matter that Congress would have to immediately deal with.”
He points out that the NTC couldn’t handle the pressure put on them by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“Despite their assurance given under oath. Despite the legal opinion of the Department of Justice. Despite a resolution from the Senate, and several verbal and written assurances given to Congress – the NTC appears to have succumbed to pressure from the Solicitor General, and issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN.”
“But you, LORD, know all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their crimes or blot out their sins from your sight. Let…
Cayetano promised that the House Committee on Legislative Franchises will conduct hearings that are “fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive.”
The Congress is left with no choice “but to once again rise to the occasion and fix the mess others make.”
There are at least 11 bills on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN that remain pending before the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.
Cayetano’s post came after various lawmakers and Calida blamed him for the shut down of ABS-CBN Corp.
Buhay Representative Lito Atienza and Albay 1st District representative Edcel Lagman, who are both authors of bills seeking to renew the network’s franchise slammed Cayetano for being incompetent.
“I would like to apologize for the failure of Congress to do its job. Kasalanan namin ito eh. Kasalanan ng Kongreso ito. But more important, I’d like to say, squarely, kasalanan ni Speaker Cayetano ito. Pagkukulang niya ito sa bayan,” Atienza said in an interview with ANC’s Headstart.
Atienza added that the House did not act on the issue right away pointing out that the franchise renewal was filed as early as September 2014.
“[Cayetano] will have a lot to explain one day. It may not be today, but later on, this issue will hound him because he was the one who did not do his job. Even the President kept on reminding him to do your job, magtrabaho kayo, aksyunan ‘nyo ‘yan. What did we do? Nothing.”
Lagman recommends the House just renew the franchise for the betterment of everyone.
“The National Telecommunication Commission must not be used as the scapegoat for the patent failure of the leadership of the House of Representatives to resolutely push for the seasonable renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.”
“I have repeatedly warned that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s proffered solution for NTC to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate, despite the lapse of its franchise, is against the law and jurisprudence,” he said,
Calida concurred the Congress should be blamed instead of the NTC, which was just following ‘the law’.
SolGen Jose Calida says Congress to blame for non-renewal of ABS-CBN franchise which led to shutdown. Says NTC only followed the law and hails cease and desist order as a triumph of rule of law. pic.twitter.com/3vHSmqHo96
— Mike Navallo (@mikenavallo) May 6, 2020