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5月8日のまにら新聞から

Duterte not inclined to veto ABS-CBN franchise bill if no infirmity - Palace

[ 423 words|2020.5.8|英字 ]

President Rodrigo Duterte is inclined to approve the bill seeking the renewal of ABS-CBN Corp.'s franchise once it reaches his office provided that there is no constitutional infirmity, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Secretary Harry Roque, in a virtual press briefing, reiterated that Duterte could not do anything to help at this time ABS-CBN, which shut down following the cease and desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday after its 25-year franchise expired on May 4.

"Even if he wants to grant the franchise, under the Constitution, it's only Congress that can give the franchise," he said.

NTC issued the cease and desist order despite earlier promise to the House of Representatives that it would grant the giant broadcast network a provisional authority when its franchise expires in the absence yet of the permit granted by Congress.

The quasi-judicial body's decision came after Solicitor General Jose Calida threatened NTC commissioners that they could be charged if they would grant a provisional authority to ABS-CBN.

Asked if the President would sign into law the bill granting franchise to ABS-CBN once it reaches his office, Roque said, "Unless there is any constitutional infirmity, I don't think the President is inclined to veto it."

He reiterated that Duterte was "neutral" insofar as the ABS-CBN's petition for a renewal of franchise is concerned.

The official said the only solution in order for ABS-CBN's television and radio broadcasts could go back on air is through going to the court and question NTC's order or through Congress.

"But I think, since Congress is in session, the solution that ABS-CBN can seek for is (for the grant) of franchise from our Congress," he said.

Some quarters have been accusing the President of having a hand in the closure of ABS-CBN.

Shortly after Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016, he already threatened ABS-CBN that he would oppose the company's renewal of the 25-year franchise.

He accused the television network of swindling him when his campaign advertisements were not aired and yet he was not reimbursed with his payment.

In a Senate inquiry early this year, ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak claimed that it aired all of Duterte's national political ads, but admitted of the delay in the refund of the remaining amount of P2.6 million, which the President did not accept anymore.

Katigbak apologized if ABS-CBN offended the President over the 2016 campaign ad funded by former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Duterte's critic.

Duterte accepted the apology but was noncommittal on the renewal of the TV network's franchise. Celerina Monte/DMS