Duterte won’t monitor Senate hearing on ABS CBN franchise

President Rodrigo Duterte has not shown any interest in monitoring the Senate's hearing on the renewal of 25 year congressional franchise and supposed violations of embattled broadcast firm ABS CBN Corp., MalacaAang said on Sunday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte is too busy to find time to listen to the Senate's deliberations on the franchise renewal of ABS CBN.

Hindi interesado doon si Presidente. Madaming trabaho si Presidente. Too many work (The President is not interested in it. The President has too many tasks to attend to. He has too many work), Panelo said in an interview with dzIQ.

The Senate public services committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing on ABS CBN's franchise on Monday.

The Senate hearing will be conducted ahead of the House of Representatives' deliberations on at least 11 pending bills that seek to extend ABS CBN's franchise for another 25 years.

Panelo reiterated that the Palace will not interfere in the legislative functions of Congress.

Ang Palasyo, hindi nakikialam sa bawat galaw ng Kongreso, Senado, at ibang mga represante. Wala kami doon (The Palace does not interfere in every action of Congress, the Senate, and other representatives. We do not interfere). It's their turf. We will not intrude into them, he said.

Senate public services committee chairperson Grace Poe earlier told ABS CBN that Solicitor General (SolGen) Jose Calida, who is seeking the nullification of ABS CBN's franchise, has been asked to attend the hearing.

Poe said Calida's participation will be crucial, considering the alleged violations he mentioned in a quo warranto petition he earlier lodged against ABS CBN before the Supreme Court (SC).

Panelo said the Palace would let Calida act on his own with regard to the latter's bid to cease the broadcast operations of ABS CBN.

He also maintained that the executive branch is ready to heed SC's possible ruling on ABS CBN's franchise.

Hindi ba sinabi na namin ang posisyon namin diyan. Trabaho ng SolGen iyan. Hayaan mo siya. Gawin niya ang trabaho niya. Kung ano ang sabihin ng Korte Supreme, eh di susunod tayo (We already made a position. It's the SolGen's job. Let him be. Let him do his job. We will also follow the Supreme Court's possible decision), he said.

ABS CBN's legislative franchise expires on March 30, unless Congress and Duterte grant a fresh 25 year extension.

Last week, Calida asked SC to revoke ABS CBN's franchise due to its supposed violation of the 1987 Constitution when it allowed foreign ownership of the Philippine media entity.

Section 11(1), Article 16 of the 1987 Constitution states that only Filipino citizens of Philippine organizations are allowed to participate in the ownership and management of Philippine mass media.

On Tuesday, Calida also called on SC to stop parties from issuing statements on the pending quo warranto suit against ABS CBN's franchise.

SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY

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