Updated: House committee on legislative franchises rejects ABSCBN franchise renewal

70 voted yes for denial of franchise, only 11 voted for franchise grant


(Eagle News) — With a majority vote of 70 from members of the House committee on legislative franchises, ABS CBN’s franchise renewal has been rejected on Friday, July 10.

Only 11 members voted to give the media network a franchise.

Voting happened after the technical working group of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises presented the committee resolution on the consensus to deny the media network ABSCBN another franchise.

Members of the committee as well as ex-officio members were asked to either vote Yes or No.  A “Yes” vote meant they accepted the resolution denying a franchise to ABS CBN, and a “No” vote meant they disagreed with the resolution and would want to grant a franchise renewal for the media network.

At the House plenary, those who immediately voted “No” to the resolution were Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate and House Minority Leader Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., as they were for the franchise renewal of ABS CBN.

The committee secretariat was then directed to count the “yes” and “no” votes of lawmakers present through Zoom, as well as those who abstained from voting.

Those who voted yes were 70, while 11 voted no.  Two inhibited, while one abstained.

“The resolution to deny ABS CBN’s franchise application is hereby adopted pursuant to section 49 of the Rules of the House of Representatives,” said House Committee chair Rep. Franz “Chicoy” Alvarez after the voting.

-Other resolutions, bills seeking ABS CBN franchise renewal “laid on the table”-

“All House bills and House resolutions relative to the grant of renewal of the franchise application of ABS CBN Corporation are hereby laid on the table,” Alvarez continued.

He then asked the committee secretariat to inform the authors of these various bills and resolutions of the decision of the committee rejecting the ABS CBN franchise renewal application “in writing” or through email within five days.

Asked what “laid on the table” meant, the Committee Secretary said that all these resolutions and bills seeking to grant a franchise for the media network have been effectively “killed.”

Ibig sabihin po, itong usapin patungkol sa pag-re-renew ng application ng ABS CBN ay hindi lang po isinantabi, tinapos na po ito ngayong araw na ito. Tama po ba, Mr. Chair?” clarified House committee on Good Government and Public Accountability chair Rep. Jose Antonio Alvarado.

“That is correct,” Alvarez replied.

-Defensor cites historic moment-

Rep. Mike Defensor said that because this was a “historic moment” for the House of Representatives and the Filipino nation, the members of the committee who voted “yes,” adopting the committee resolution should be named as co-authors.  The motion was approved without any objections.

Alvarado then moved to adopt the other findings and recommendations contained in the TWG report as discussed in the previous hearings on the ABS CBN franchise renewal.  The motion was then approved since there were no objections.

The TWG report will be released to the public as per Defensor’s motion.

-No more presentation to the plenary-

Before the hearing closed, Manila Rep. Abante tried to clarify if the committee report will still be presented to the plenary.

Hindi na po (Not anymore),” Alvarez said.

At the start of the hearing, the committee secretariat announced that there was a quorum as there were 85 committee members present including 46 regular members and 39 ex-officio members.

With the vote, the ABS CBN franchise renewal has been flatly rejected, the lawmakers said.

The last hearing discussing issues against ABS CBN happened on Monday, July 6, which ended almost midnight as lawmakers discussed the alleged biased reporting of the media giant, the last of issues raised against the network.

The other issues raised in the past hearings were on the dual citizenship and alleged dual allegiance of its chairman emeritus Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, the alleged foreign ownership of the media network through Philippine Depositary Receipts (PDRs) bought by foreigners, its alleged tax avoidance schemes, its use of multiple channels in violation of its original franchise, and the violation of labor laws with its failure to regularize its workers.

On Wednesday, July 9, the House committee heard the various summation of issues raised with regards the media network’s franchise.

(Eagle News Service)