DEPUTY Speaker and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza believes it is possible for TV giant ABS-CBN to start operating again in 2021.
Under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Atienza said, the discussion on restoring the franchise of ABS-CBN could be brought back to the floor.
“I am really confident, justice will prevail by next year. They(ABS-CBN) were maltreated, they were maltreated, they were eventually assassinated, so they should be given justice. Ako, I am just giving the new Speaker time to settle. Hindi naman natin puwedeng biglain, major battle, kauupo lamang niya. But I am not shying away from the responsibility and for the opportunity to come – that I’m working on – para maibalik natin ‘yung floor discussion. Hindi — ‘yung special firing squad ang pumatay sa ABS-CBN, firing squad eh,” explained Atienza who was referring to the hurried dumping of the franchise renewal application of the giant network at the committee level effectively keeping it from deliberation at the House Plenary.
The ABS-CBN franchise renewal application was rejected with a vote of 70 against 11 and one abstention by the House committee on legislative franchises.
For his part Abang-Lingkod party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano that at the start of 2021 ABS-CBN can file its franchise renewal application in accordance with the rules of the House of Representatives.
At present no pro-ABS-CBN congressman has made known his intention to file a resolution on renewing the network’s franchise.
However, on the basis of the House rules, it is not necessary to file a new application since the original can be used because there is no prohibition against the filing or refiling of bills that were not acted upon by the committee.
Asked if he would file a resolution for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise, Atienza replied positively and said he would do it at the right time.
Looking back, 16 lawmakers in the Lower Chamber had sponsored several resolutions for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN including Reps Sarah Elago, Sol Aragones, Arlene Brosas, Eufemia Cullamat, Lawrence Fortun, Mark Go, Rufus Rodriguez, Josephine Sato, Micaela Violago, Rosemarie Arenas, France Castro, Ferdinand Gaite, Loren Legarda, Vilma Santos-Recto, Joy Tambunting at Carlos Zarate.
Sponsors Paduano and Kabayan Partylist Rep Ron Salo later withdrew their support.
Some lawmakers are confident that under the new leadership in the House there is hope for ABS-CBN to regain its franchise.