No Direct Pressure over ABS-CBN Franchise Controversy

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Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano said on Thursday that there was no direct pressure from President Rodrigo Duterte about the pending legislation seeking to expand the ABS-CBN broadcast network franchise.

The President has never interfered with, and does not plan to intervene with, Congressional relations, “he said.” He respects the separation of powers and has great respect for us.

Albano is the vice-chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, which handles ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal demand.

In an interview on Wednesday, Albano said he was feeling the pressure due to the split between Duterte and ABS-CBN, along with his committee colleagues.

Duterte had repeatedly stated that he would block ABS-CBN’s franchise extension, which will expire on March 30. In 2016, he accused ABS-CBN of not broadcasting a political advertisement which his campaign team had already paid for.

The Solicitor General’s Office also filed a petition seeking to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise over alleged violations this week.

ABS-CBN said it was not in breach of the law and that it was compliant with government regulations.

In his argument, Albano has said that Duterte respects the right to freedom of speech.

Nevertheless, he cautioned that the government could curb such a right when it “is used for false news, and misrepresent another person’s inherent fundamental rights.”

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