Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said on Wednesday the concurrent resolution filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon expressing the sense of the Congress that ABS-CBN Corporation should continue to operate pending renewal of its franchise reeks of politics.
He said the move deprives President Rodrigo Duterte of the power to approve or veto the network’s franchise renewal.
“The resolution of Senator Drilon has politics involved in it. Why would we deprive the President of the power to approve or veto? He is the President of the country, that’s his authority and he has the right to approve or veto a franchise bill,” Go said in Filipino in an ambush interview.
“Why 2022, because President Duterte’s term expires by then? That is the intention… that could be what Speaker [Alan Peter] Cayetano was referring to, he [Drilon] would be the only one to look good here,” he added.
Go said he would rather support the bill filed by Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. which seeks to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise until the end of the year.
“To give more time to Congress if that is what’s really needed, I will support. Until the end of the year if they have no time to hear the franchise renewal bills… I will agree with the bill of Revilla,” he said.
Drilon, however, denied that politics was involved in the filing of the concurrent resolution.
“I regret the statement of Senator Bong Go. Being a neophyte senator, he may not be aware of our tradition and our rules. Precisely, a concurrent resolution does not go through the President because it has no force and effect of law. It is just a sense of the Senate. There is no politics here,” Drilon said in a separate interview.
“A concurrent resolution simply expresses the sense of the Senate, and therefore, it does not really need the approval of the President. It is the joint resolution that needs the approval of the President. We regret that statement, maybe because he is not aware of the tradition and the rules in the Senate.” he said.
Drilon filed Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 6 to express the sense of Congress that ABS-CBN “should be allowed to operate under the terms of its existing franchise pending final determination of the renewal of its franchise by the 18th Congress.”
The resolution also urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to issue the appropriate provisional authority to the broadcast network, after it noted that Congress has only eight session days remaining before the franchise of ABS-CBN expires on May 4.
“Both the Senate and the House of Representatives need additional time to review and determine whether or not ABS-CBN Corporation shall be granted the renewal of its franchise,” the resolution read.
On the other hand, Revilla filed Senate Bill No. 1374 seeking to extend ABS-CBN’s franchise until Dec. 31, 2020, to “give both Houses of Congress time” to act on the various pending bills on the franchise renewal of the network, and at the same time “address all possible legal consequences” that may arise if the existing franchise of the network lapses, if it is not amended. (PNA)