Senators stand up for ABS-CBN franchise hearing

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Senators on Friday welcomed the hearing that the Senate Public Services Committee, headed by Senator Grace Poe, would hold on Monday’s renewal of the ABS-CBN Corporation franchise.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate is not in violation of the Constitution by holding the hearing contrary to the statements of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

In addition, the hearing focuses on the resolutions filed re: ABS not whether we should support its franchise or not. Sotto told reporters in a statement.

He is not the Senate, he is a committee hearing.

Cayetano, in an ambush interview in Iba, Zambales, expressed frustration on Thursday that the Senate had time to deliberate on the ABS-CBN franchise bills when it was sitting on other issues such as amendments to the Charter (Cha-cha).

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Cayetano may have a point as the Constitution stipulates that local application bills such as franchise measures must emanate from the House, but he is wrong to compare them with the Cha-cha problem.

As a former Senate majority leader, Senator Francis Pangilinan said holding concurrent Senate hearings on bills that should emanate from the House such as the budget bill, tax bills, or franchise reforms is common parliamentary procedure for decades.

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