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Duterte Accepts Apology from ABS-CBN
« on: February 28, 2020, 07:10:54 AM »
PRRD accepts ABS-CBN's apology; Bong Go urges fellow lawmakers to act on pending franchise bill

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, February 26, has accepted the apology of ABS-CBN for airing a smear political ad against him paid by opposition ex-senator Antonio Trillanes IV and for their inability to air all of Duterte's paid political ads during the 2016 electoral campaign period.

This came after Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that he will appeal the matter to the President.

“Nonetheless, kung ako po ang tatanungin, I will also appeal to the President, for the simple reason na ayaw ko na may mawalan ng trabaho,” Go said in his statement during the Senate hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise issue last Monday.

In a most recent interview, Go said that the President may have heard about the media network's apology during the public hearing on the network's franchise issue which led to his decision to accept the apology.

"I’m sure narinig or nabasa naman ni Pangulo. 'Di ko po alam what’s his reaction o kung ano man ang sariling desisyon. I cannot speak in behalf of the President," Go said.

"Malambot po ang puso, lalo sa mahihirap. Malambot ang puso niya. Maawain po yan," he added.

Go also said that despite his tough stance, the President is soft-hearted and compassionate.

"Alam ninyo, kung titingnan niyo po si Pangulong Duterte, very tough tingnan. Pero deep inside ay malambot ang puso ng ating mahal na Pangulo," Go explained.

Despite the acceptance of the apology, the President refused to say whether he will approve or veto the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise if it is passed by both houses of Congress.

“I accept the apology, of course... Tao lang rin ako so... Alam mo, I have kept a distance. It's now... they are deliberating in Congress, the Lower House and the Senate,” the President said.

“But, fundamentally, really, ang decision nasa House ngayon, not so much on the Senate because the Constitution says all of these things must originate from the Lower House,” Duterte added.

Meanwhile, in an ambush interview in the Senate earlier today, Go said that the Joint Resolution filed seeking to extend the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN to December 2022 is “unnecessary” and called on his fellow lawmakers to decide instead whether to approve or deny the renewal of the franchise.

“It will be superfluous. It will not supersede an existing law. Merong kasalukuyang batas, nandiyan ang franchise, pag-usapan na dapat ito sa Kongreso kung ire-renew o hindi,” Go said.

He also explained that a resolution does not have the force and effect of a law. Consequently, joint resolutions cannot amend an existing law. In the case of Ang Nars Partylist vs Executive Secretary, the Supreme Court ruled that an amendment to a law cannot be done through a mere joint resolution.

“Mas priority ko po ngayon na idinig na ang franchise bill. You approve sa Lower House o i-deny. If you approve, padala na ninyo dito sa Senado and we will vote dito,” he added.

Go stressed three points for his objection with the proposal to extend the existing franchise of ABS-CBN through a resolution.

“Unang-una, wala namang nagsasabi na mag-off air ang ABS-CBN pag nag-expire na ang kanilang franchise. The NTC (National Telecommunications Commission), DOJ (Department of Justice), House of Representatives and even the Senate President said that a provisional authority to air can be granted while the franchise bill is pending in Congress.“

Go further explained that “May precedent naman po tayo. May basis kung sakaling magpatuloy ang operasyon ng isang network while the renewal of the franchise is pending. Nangyari na po ito sa CBCP (Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines)... Hindi naman naputol ang kanilang operasyon.”

Lastly, Go said that the House of Representatives is in the process of hearing the franchise bill at the Committee on Legislative Franchises. The House Committee is asking all parties to submit position papers and will review them in preparation for a public hearing.

The House of Representatives through the Committee on Legislative Franchises has also sent a letter to the NTC to express their sentiments that a provisional authority be granted to ABS-CBN while the renewal of its franchise is pending in Congress.

Go reiterated his call to lawmakers to urgently act on the measure and settle the issue regarding ABS-CBN’s franchise.

“Bilang isang Senador, nais ko sanang matapos na sa madaling panahon ang usapin sa prangkisa ng ABS CBN. Mas lalong umiinit ang isyu, mas nahahaluan ng pulitika habang tumatagal. Either the Lower House will grant or deny the franchise renewal. If it decides to grant it and the bill will be forwarded to the Senate, then I will study and vote according to my conscience and my conscience will always consider the interest of the Filipino people,” Go explained.

Furthermore, Go also said that the Joint Resolution earlier filed by Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon appears politicized if its intent is to extend the franchise to December 2022.

“Bakit 2022? Dahil tapos na ang termino ni Pangulong Duterte? Sinasadya naman ‘yun saka medyo may halong pulitika,” he said in the interview in the Senate.

“Sinabi ko ito dahil bakit kailangan pa i-extend ang franchise hanggang December 2022 kung kailan alam naman natin na iba na ang Presidente sa panahong iyon. Hindi naman kailangan ng ganoong extension kung aaktuhan na ng Kongreso ang pagtatalakay ng renewal ng franchise ng ABS-CBN ngayon,” Go recently explained.

Aside from filing the Joint Resolution on February 17, Senator Drilon also filed on February 26 a concurrent resolution urging the NTC to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to continue its operations after the expiration of its franchise.

“Wala po akong pagtutol sa Concurrent Resolution na ito dahil karapatan naman ng Senado na mag-express ng kanilang sentimyento para hikayatin ang NTC na magbigay ng provisional authority habang pending pa sa Kongreso ang renewal ng franchise ng ABS-CBN. In fact, nagsulat na nga ang House of Representatives sa NTC para bigyan ng Provisional Authority ang ABS CBN,” Go said, explaining his stand when it comes to the two different resolutions filed by Drilon.

Go said that if it is absolutely necessary to extend the existing franchise of ABS-CBN to give more time for Congress to act on its renewal, such extension must follow the legislative process for enacting franchise bills as provided in the Constitution.

A bill has been filed in the Senate by Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla that seeks to amend a law to extend the franchise of ABS-CBN until December 31, 2020.

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