"Marami kaming namo-monitor na issues: Una sa budget. Ngayon naman, sa ABS na ginagamit para sabihin na time na umalis ako."
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Cayetano: ABS-CBN's franchise renewal being used to oust me as speaker
(Philstar.com) - February 26, 2020 - 2:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Monday that the House of Representatives is doing its best to address measures granting ABS-CBN a fresh broadcast franchise after its session resumes on May 4, an issue he believes is being used to oust him from leadership.

The House has been drawing flak from various sectors for its alleged slow pace in tackling over 11 bills seeking to give the Kapamilya network a new lease on life.

"The moment na ayaw na ‘ko nung majority ng mga kongresista, aalis ako," he told reporters.

"Marami kaming namo-monitor na issues: Una sa budget. Ngayon naman, sa ABS na ginagamit para sabihin na time na umalis ako."

[The moment that the majority of the Congress doesn't want me, I will leave. I'm monitoring many issues, first is the budget. The ABS issue is being used to remove me from office.]

He told reporters at the Batasang Pambansa that the lower chamber would offer the media giant a "sober, objective and fair" hearing surrounding its franchise renewal hanging in Congress.

This he assured even though he was President Rodrigo Duterte's running-mate during the 2016 presidential elections.

It's been years since Duterte first aired his personal displeasure against ABS-CBN, even saying he won't renew their franchise if he had his way.

Cayetano, who is expected to step down after 15 months as House speaker in a term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, insists he won't give in to pressures demanding him to immediately conduct hearings on the issue, saying he wants to deal with them thoroughly.

"This is how I know to do my job. Hindi ako marunong na bara-bara. Ayoko na ‘pag na-pressure ng media, maghi-hearing na kaagad," he said.

[This is how I know to do my job. I don't want to be rushed. I don't want to be pressured by the media to conduct the hearing right away.]

"So, I’ve explained a million times why it’s important to have orderly, fair hearings. Kung kayang tanggapin ‘to ng majority ng mga kongresista, thank you. Kung hindi, then it’s time to choose a new leader and bahala na kayo. No problem.”

[So, I’ve explained a million times why it’s important to have orderly, fair hearings. If the majority of the House can accept it, thank you. If they can't, then it's time for them to choose a new leader. It's up to them. No problem.]

Cayetano said that the ABS-CBN franchise bills should not be a cause for concern.

"Did they violate the franchise? Did they violate the law? If the answer is no, we grant them the franchise. If the answer is there some violations, ano 'yong akmang penalty? At ano 'yong reforms na maiooffer niyo para hindi na ito maulit muli?" he said.

[Did they violate the franchise? Did they violate the law? If the answer is no, we grant them the franchise. If the answer is there some violations, what are the appropriate penalties to impose? What are the reforms so that such penalties would be prevented?]

About 11,000 employees are in danger of losing their jobs should the franchise fail to pass Congress. The company also faces a quo warranto petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Office of the Solicitor General, seeking to have their legislative franchise revoked due to some "violations."

The Department of Justice earlier assured senators that the National Telecommunications Commission could grant ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate while bills are still being heard by lawmakers, as long as Congress gives a go signal.

While Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says the franchise is set expire this May, Sen. Vicento "Tito" Sotto says the media company could still operate until 2022 even without a franchise. — Philstar.com intern Krizzia Mae Furio

ABS-CBN ALAN PETER CAYETANO HOUSE OF THE REPRESENATIVES HOUSE SPEAKER LEGISLATIVE FRANCHISE OUST
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