THE House Committee on Legislative Franchise will start its hearing on the several bills renewing franchises of different media outfits, including ABS-CBN, in the first week of February.
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said this is based on his latest meeting with committee chairman Palawan Rep. France Alvarez.
However, Cayetano did not categorically say if the television giant’s franchise will be renewed before its expiration in March this year as the committee wanted to hear all the stakeholders and those that have complaints.
“I’ll just reiterate that we have committed to the Filipino people that we will have fair hearings, that we will hear the issues and also hear the replies, and we cannot promise you any decision until we finish the hearings, to be fair with everyone,” Cayetano said.
Alvarez has informed the Speaker that those who have completed requirements will be the committee’s priority.
Among those pending for public hearing and discussion are some 40 to 50 franchise bills, including the 11 intended for ABS-CBN.
The franchise of ABS-CBN will expire on March 30 while the plenary session will end March 11 for a summer break.
Sessions will resume on May.
Cayetano stressed that everybody should be given a chance to speak and listen to the issues about the controversial franchise of the said television network to which President Rodrigo Duterte himself is strong opposing.
“Sa mga pro-ABS makinig muna kayo sa anti. At sa mga anti -- makinig muna kayo sa pro kasi habang hindi pa lumalabas lahat ng isyu, hindi ‘yan ang kabuuan nito,” he said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the Speaker said Congress has enough time to discuss all the issues about the franchise.
“We have enough time. Kung ‘yung budget na P4.1-trillion natapos natin ng isang buwan, ‘yun pa kayang franchise na siguro, sobra, ‘yung issues, two, three hearings sobrang exhaustive na yun,” he added.