Duterte won't meddle with ABS-CBN franchise renewal, says Palace
In this Dec. 30, 2019 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during his visit to the earthquake victims at the M'lang National High School in Cotabato.
Presidential Photo/Toto Lozano

Duterte won't meddle with ABS-CBN franchise renewal, says Palace

(Philstar.com) - January 3, 2020 - 4:42pm

MANILA, Philippines — Despite being vocal on his position against ABS-CBN, President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the franchise renewal of the media giant, according to his spokesman.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo noted that the Congress has the prerogative to grant franchise on the network.

"The President will not interfere with that prerogative unless there is an evident and brazen grave abuse of its authority that imperils the very life of the state as well as such abuse not only contravenes the rights of the people but its general welfare is likewise put at risk following the doctrine of salum est suprema lex (The welfare of the people is the supreme law)," Panelo said in a statement.

This was in response to the statement of Sen. Leila de Lima, who said the prerogative of the Congress to grant legislative franchise should not be based on the "personal whims of a madman."

"It is apparent that these attacks against the ABS-CBN is just part of a bigger, systematic effort to subjugate Filipino companies under the political interests operating through Malacañang, both local and foreign," De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame.

The detained senator added that the president's attacks against Filipino corporations operating public utilities and franchises show his intent to replace them with cronies or China-backed entities.

According to De Lima, the decision of the Congress on ABS-CBN's franchise would serve as a "litmus test" for the senators' and congressmen's commitment to free press and democracy.

"ABS-CBN should stand firm against these despotic attacks and remain confident of their crucial role in our democracy," De Lima said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: January 27, 2021 - 3:35pm

ABS-CBN Corp. stopped broadcasting on its TV and radio stations on May 5, 2020 after the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order. The network's franchise had lapsed on May 4 without action by the House of Representatives.

January 27, 2021 - 3:35pm

Rep. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan Party-list) attempts to put the ABS-CBN franchise up for a vote in the plenary, saying it should be taken up as it is in the House's unfinished business.

The House rejects his motion, but he appeals this. House leaders later on commit to begin tackling its unfinished business beginning Monday. —  Xave Gregorio

January 18, 2021 - 3:38pm

Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto (Batangas) has filed a bill seeking the renewal of the franchise granted to broadcast giant ABS-CBN.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier filed a similar bill at the Senate, saying a majority of Filipinos get their news primarily from TV. 

Franchise bills emanate from the House of Representatives.

January 5, 2021 - 8:00pm

Malacañang is leaving it up to Congress to decide on the new bill seeking to renew the franchise of television network ABS-CBN, which was forced to lay off thousands of workers after its franchise expired last May. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque disagreed, saying the fate of the bill depends on lawmakers. 

"Well, again, I beg to differ; that is a sole constitutional prerogative of Congress which must originate from the House of Representatives," Roque says at a press briefing. —  Alexis Romero

January 4, 2021 - 4:53pm

Senate President Tito Sotto files a bill renewing the franchise of broadcast giant ABS-CBN, which went off the air in May.

Sotto's bill seeks to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation, which expired in March 2020, to another 25 years.

"ABS-CBN's wide reach to Filipinos, alongside with the undeniable advantages of broadcast media relative to mass communication, definitely calls for the immediate renewal of the network's franchise," Sotto says in his bill.

October 6, 2020 - 2:27pm

Broadcast giant ABS-CBN Corp. is returning to free TV starting Saturday after striking a deal with Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc. 

The network announces that "some entertainment shows and movies" it produces will be aired in the "rebranded" A2Z channel 11, formerly Zoe TV, the free TV channel of Jesus Is Lord Church led and founded by Eddie Villanueva.

"A2Z channel 11 will be seen on analog TV in Metro Manila and nearby provinces," the network says.

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