ABS-CBN to get due process


THE leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday assured fairness and due process as the House committees on legislative franchises and on good government and public accountability will hold a joint hearing this Tuesday afternoon on the franchise application of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, chairman of the House committee on good government, said his panel and the House committee on legislative franchises chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez will give all stakeholders equal opportunity to present their arguments.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we look forward to the second hearing on the ABS-CBN franchise. As Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has repeatedly said, Congress is committed to upholding due process by conducting a fair, impartial, and comprehensive hearing before approving or denying the franchise application,” stressed Sy-Alvarado.

“In relation to this, other than those who have a material stand for or against the franchise application, the Committee on Legislative Franchises shall also call several resource persons to shed light and provide a general overview of the issues.

This includes the Solicitor General, whom we expect will be present during the hearing tomorrow, without prejudice to the quo warranto case he has filed before the Supreme Court,” added Sy-Alvarado.

The joint hearing will be held at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives at 1 p.m. of Tuesday.

Sy-Alvarado explained this is pursuant to Section 21, Article VI of the Constitution, and Section 1 of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquires in Aid of Legislation of the House of Representatives, which states that “the filing or pendency of a case before any court, tribunal or quasi-judicial or administrative body shall not stop or abate any inquiry conducted to carry out a legislative purpose.”

“Just like the Members of Congress, I am sure our kababayans would like to hear - and they deserve to hear - what SolGen (Jose) Calida has to say, instead of just reading or watching about it in the news,” said Sy-Alvarado.

Last week, Cayetano said President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte respects the independence of Congress on various issues, including the controversial franchise of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation.

Cayetano said President Duterte is not meddling on the affairs if Congress, valuing the separation of powers and checks and balances in the three branches of government.

“I can tell you and look you in the eyes that the Presidente’s request to me is just be fair. He’s leaving the matter to us. The President has never told me to grant or not grant the franchise,” Cayetano told reporters.

The Speaker expressed gratitude to President Duterte’s position recognizing and respecting the independence and authority of Congress.