Fair hearing on ’ABS’ assured

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday assured the people of fairness and due process when the House holds a joint hearing today on the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, the chairman of the House committee on good government, said his panel and the House committee on legislative franchises led by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez will give all stakeholders an equal opportunity to present their arguments.

“Tomorrow [Tuesday], we look forward to the second hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise,” Say-Alvarado said.

“As Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has repeatedly said, Congress is committed to upholding due process by conducting a fair, impartial and comprehensive hearing before approving or denying the franchise application.”

Sy-Alvarado made his statement even as the Justice department said ABS-CBN could be allowed to continue operations despite the expiration of its franchise on May 4.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the National Telecommunications Commission may issue a provisional authority allowing the network to remain on air while Congress was deliberating on its application for the renewal of a 25-year franchise.

The joint hearing in the House will be held at the Session Hall at 1 p.m.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, a former journalist of ABS-CBN, welcomed the House decision to finally thresh out the issues on ABS-CBN’s franchise.

Aragones, one of the authors of the bills seeking to grant ABS-CBN another 25-year franchise, said the resumption of the hearings would allow all sides to be heard.

"The important thing is that all sides of the issue will be heard," Aragones said.

Last week, Cayetano said President Rodrigo Duterte respected the independence of Congress on various issues, including the controversial franchise of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

“I can tell you and look you in the eyes that the President’s request to me is just be fair. He’s leaving the matter to us. The President has never told me to grant or not grant the franchise,” Cayetano said.

Topics: Alan Peter Cayetano , ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation , Jonathan Sy-Alvarado
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