ABS-CBN
This file photo shows ABS-CBN's ELJ Communications Center and Millennium Transmitter as viewed from Mother Ignacia Avenue in Quezon City.
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ABS-CBN: We can't comment on speculations about franchise renewal
(Philstar.com) - June 13, 2019 - 4:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — Media and entertainment giant ABS-CBN Corp. said Thursday it cannot comment on speculations surrounding the bill that seeks to renew the company’s legislative franchise that the 17th Congress did not pass before adjourning.

ABS-CBN issued the statement to “clarify” a report by The STAR that the House of Representatives “has frozen” the Lopez-owned broadcasting firm’s franchise bill.

"ABS-CBN is unable to clarify or comment on the article as it is neither the source of the said news article nor is it privy to any claims expressed therein," the company told the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Shares in ABS-CBN fell 4.33% or 80 centavos to close at P17.66 apiece on Thursday, the lowest in 10 years.

ABS-CBN’s franchise expires in 2020.

House Bill 4349, which proposes to extend the media giant’s franchise by another 25 years, had been pending at the committee level since November 2016, The STAR reported on Wednesday.

The STAR added that the House Committee on Legislative Franchises did not submit a report on the franchise bill before the 17th Congress adjourned its third and last regular session on Tuesday.

Pending bills will have to be refiled in the next Congress.

In August last year, President Rodrigo Duterte said he was personally against the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise as he accused the media company of swindling him.

Duterte first expressed his opposition to the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise on April 27, 2017, which came days after he signed a law extending the franchise of GMA Network Inc. — ABS-CBN’s rival.

In 2017, Duterte hit ABS-CBN and newspaper The Philippine Daily Inquirer for their supposed “unfair” and “slanted” reporting of his administration, adding that “corrupt” media “ails the Philippine society.”

Congress, or the legislature, is a separate branch of government from the Executive branch. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral

ABS-CBN CORPORATION
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