At least six congressmen have signed up to question ABS-CBN chairman emeritus Eugenio Lopez III when he appears before Wednesday's congressional hearing of the media company's franchise bills.
Lopez, whose Filipino citizenship is being questioned, will be one the resource persons in the joint hearing of the committees on legislative franchises and good government and public accountability, according to Ako-Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin.
Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta of the SAGIP party-list group was one of the legislators who wanted to question Lopez, Garbin said.
The rest are Reps. Edcel Lagman of Albay, Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro, Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna and Ron Salo of Kabayan.
Garbin made his statement even as the Supreme on Tuesday dumped the petition of lawyer Larry Gadon seeking to stop the National Telecommunications Commission from issuing a provisional authority to allow ABS-CBN to operate beyond the expiration of its franchise last month.
The high court voted unanimously to dismiss Gadon's petition for lack of legal standing to file the case.
The high court dismissed the petition without requiring the respondents—Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, House franchise committee chairman Franz Alvarez, and NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba-to file their respective comments.
Garbin, Lagman, Rodriguez and Zarate are the authors of the bills seeking the renewal of the franchise to operate ABS-CBN.
“Aside from the issue on citizenship, he [Lopez] may be asked about other issues such as the re-acquisition of ABS(-CBN) by the Lopez [family] after EDSA, PDRs (Philippine Depositary Receipts), etc," Garbin said.
ABS-CBN has said Lopez is both a Filipino and a US citizen, an assertion supported Rodriguez, a former law school dean and immigration chief.
On May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission halted ABS-CBN's broadcast operations through a cease- and-desist order. The company's franchise expired on May 4.
ABS-CBN then challenged the order at the Supreme Court.