By ROGER M. BALANZA
A ranked member of the House of Representatives has admitted having been offered a multi-million-peso bribe to vote for the renewal of the franchise of television giant ABS-CBN.
“Someone called me up, identified himself as ABS-CBN’s emissary who was urging me to vote in favor of ABS-CBN in exchange for P200 million. said ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap in a statement reported on Thursday by the Inquirer.
“I made a simple answer: My vote and principles are not for sale,” said Yap, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.
Yap, also member of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, said the offer was made more than two weeks ago by the “emissary” that he could not know as representing ABS-CBN.
The television giant was ordered closed down May 4 by the Telecommunications Commission (NTC) with a Cease and Desist Order (CDO after the network’s franchise expired.
The House franchise committee is hearing a bill seeking to grant the media giant a new 25-year franchise.
Yap issued the statement on the bribe attempt following media reports on it that appeared to point to him as the source.
Yap said he did not release a statement on the bribe offer to media because he was not sure if the emissary was really sent by ABS-CBN.
In the statement, Yap also snapped at premature media reports that said that lawmakers had already decided on their votes on the ABS-CBN franchise, which is pending before the franchise committee.
He said the members of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises had not yet cast their votes contrary to media reports.