No pressure — lawmaker

February 13, 2020

THE President is not directly pressuring us.

This is according to Isabela Rep. Antonio “Tonypet” Albano which is contrary to his earlier statement that people, including President Rodrigo Duterte,  are pressuring them on the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation.

Albano, vice chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises, stated that  he never said  President Duterte “directly” pressured the congressmen on the issue.

“In fairness to the President, he NEVER called any of us congressmen, and NEVER issued any marching orders to tell us what to do,” Albano said in a statement released to reporters.

“The President has never interfered and does not intend to interfere in the business of Congress. He values separation of powers and has much respect for us to do so,” he added.

President Duterte has been very vocal in objecting to the renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN because of its alleged biased reporting and for not airing his paid election advertisement.

Currently, there are eight bills pending before the House committee on legislative franchises to which its chairman Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez has not scheduled any hearing to discuss the measures.

The franchise of ABS-CBN will expire on March 30 this year. Congress will adjourn for its summer break starting March 20.

According to Albano, President Duterte values freedom of speech.

“And like him, I also believe that freedom of speech is not absolute! And  when the right to speak is used for false news and slander the inherent basic rights of any person, then the freedom of speech becomes libelous and can be curtailed by government,” Albano said.