THERE should be inter-chamber courtesy in the deliberation of franchise bills.
This is a friendly reminder from House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to his former colleagues in the Senate particularly to Senator Grace Poe who will be leading a public hearing on the ABS-CBN Corporation franchise renewal on Monday, February 24.
Cayetano warned that the scheduled hearing of the Committee on Public Services jointly with the Committee on Economic Affairs and Committee on Finance violates the Constitution.
“Ano ba ang sabi sa Constitution? Saan ba nag-uumpisa ang prangkisa? Sa House or sa Senate?” Cayetano asked.
Section 24, Article VI (Legislative Department) of the Constitution states that “All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.”
The House leader stressed that legislative franchise “verily is a private bill contemplated by the Constitution, being a proposal for a law that would apply to a particular individual or group of individuals, or corporate entity, in this case ABS-CBN.”
Cayetano also pointed out that there should be inter-chamber courtesy in the deliberation of the franchise bill.
However, Cayetano said he cannot argue with the priority of the Senate but hopes that important issues will be brought forward during the upper chamber hearing.
The Speaker reiterated his position that there is no rush in approving the franchise because ABS-CBN will not shut down.
“Meron po tayong ugnayan sa [NTC] National Telecommunications Commission na gagawin na habang naghi-hearing kami o habang pending sa amin, hindi magsasara,” he said.
“No one is saying na ‘wag natin pag-usapan. Ang sinasabi ko, ‘pag inischedule ko ngayon for hearing lang, lahat nung energy ng buong Kongreso, diyan mapupunta. Walang mag-aattend nung ibang hearing,” the Taguig City lawmaker added.