Senator Panfilo Lacson reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that the Congress is the one that should decide on the fate of television network ABS-CBN’s franchise.
In a radio interview, Lacson said that Congress has the authority to give legislative franchises to a corporation and public utilities like ABS-CBN.
He also expressed his opposition to the move of Solicitor General Jose Calida who reportedly planning to file a Quo Warranto petition against ABS-CBN calling the move unnecessary.
“Ang renewal ng franchise, ayon sa Constitution, nasa Kongreso yan. Kami ang magde-deliberate, at ang mag-a-approve niyan, Pangulo,” Lacson said.
“I think parang superfluous ang mag-quo warranto pa para pigilan ang pag-renew ng franchise, kasi power ng Congress ‘yan… Kami ang dapat masusunod kung mare-renew ba ng another 25 years ang media outfit…So I think medyo duplicitous ang move para pigilan, kasi hindi talaga kayang pigilan ang Kongreso,” he added.
Lacson also warned of a constitutional crisis if Supreme Court sided with the petition of Calida against ABS-CBN.
“Baka magkaroon tayo ng constitutional crisis. Kasi halimbawa, kung mag-grant ang SC ng quo warranto at kasalukuyang nagsasagawa kami ng plenary deliberation sa renewal ng franchise ng ABS-CBN, ano ang mananaig doon? Of course sabi nila, pag sinabi ng SC ganito, it becomes part of the law of the land, pero Constitution itong pinag-uusapan natin. ‘Di pwedeng sabihin ng SC na unconstitutional ang ginagawang deliberation ng Congress sa pag-renew ng franchise kasi maliwanag sa Constitution na sa amin ‘yan,” he said.
As a response, the Palace said that Lacson should consult a lawyer first before talking about a constitutional crisis.
“With due respect to my good friend Senator Lacson, he is not a lawyer. Yung portion na yun siguro ikonsulta niya muna,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
ABS-CBN’s franchise is set to expire in March 2020 and until now President Rodrigo Duterte is still opposing its renewal.