“Yari!” Congress decides to freeze ABS-CBN franchise renewal bill

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The House of the Representatives decided to freeze the bill which aimed the renewal of the franchise of the television network giant ABS-CBN Corp.

House Bill 4349 had been pending since November 2016, and ABS-CBN franchise will expire nine months from now or on March 20, 2020.

The Committee on Legislative Franchises did not submit the report before the 17th Congress ended, so it’s up to the 18th Congress if they’re going to push for the bill or not.

If the 18th Congress fail to pass the said bill within the next nine months, ABS-CBN got no choice but to close all their operations in television and radio.

According to the report of Philippine Star, the problem on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN could only be resolved if they’re going to address their company’s issue with President Rodrigo Duterte.

They have to thresh out and resolve their issues with the President. That’s the key to get the bill moving,” the lawmaker who didn’t want to disclose his name said.

The President is known for criticizing ABS-CBN several times in his speeches, claiming that the said television network helped Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to air a television ad which trying to damage his reputation during the 2016 Presidential election.

He said that he would block the franchise renewal of the said television network.

“Hindi ko palusutin. Iyong franchise niyo matatapos. But let me ask you questions first. Kasi ako talaga mag-object na ma-renew kayo. Alam mo bakit? Magnanakaw kayo, estapador,” Duterte said.

Duterte also addressed ABS-CBN Chairman Emeritus Gabby Lopez and accused the businessman of stealing his money.

“Gabby Lopez, I paid ABS-CBN P2.8 million…You accepted my money, you never bothered to show my propaganda (political advertisements). After the elections, you didn’t return the money,” Duterte said.

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