The Media Giant’s Fate Ends Sadly More than Ever Before

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It’s still surprising how the rejection by a House committee of ABS-CBN’s proposal for a fresh franchise is already final since no lawmaker challenged his decision, the chair of the panel highlighted.

In view of this, Rep. Franz Alvarez, chairman of the House Legislative Franchises Committee, said that each of the 70 lawmakers who voted to deny the franchise proposal of the media giant may have lodged a motion for reconsideration, but none of them did.

The decision of the committee has now been final, Alvarez said, referring to the July 2020 vote of the panel to refuse ABS-CBN a new license that led to job losses and an intelligence vacuum in the middle of a raging pandemic and multiple disasters. Alvarez has shared that taking up the ABS-CBN franchise is now moot and academic as the bill in the unfinished business of the House just intends to award a franchise to the media giant until October 31, 2020.

However, House documents reveal that on May 18, 2020, the chamber reconsidered the second reading acceptance of the legislation and resumed debates on the bill. Under House Rule X, Section 56, after debates on it are terminated, legislators can propose amendments to a bill.

The declaration by Alvarez came after Rep. Michael Defensor (Anakalusugan party-list) tried to report to the committee on a proposal aimed at giving ABS-CBN a conditional franchise before a plenary vote. Lawmakers who want a new franchise to be granted to ABS-CBN said the plenary could overturn the panel’s decision to reject the TV network’s request for a new license.

However, it is not clear which direction the House will go for the ABS-CBN franchise. Alvarez said he thinks the leadership of the House would better let the next Congress vote on the sad fate of the media giant. Surely, things will get disappointing over this decision.

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