IN a major twist of events at the House of Representatives, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano turned 360 degrees on the ABS-CBN franchise issue.
Late afternoon Cayetano leads the Committee of the Whole in tackling House Bill 6732, which he authored, in seeking to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN.
It was faster than Covid-19.
Congress acted swiftly today on the cold ABS- CBN franchise that has been sitting in legislation since 2014.
This was after House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano flipped from his earlier statements about ABS-CBN and their franchise.
Pass 2 pm Cayetano filed House Bill 6732, which seeks to grant a short provisional franchise for ABS-CBN until October 31, 2020.
After being referred to the committee on rules, the bill immediately passed the committee level after it was approved by the instantaneously formed House Committee of the Whole.
The bill also passed all throughout the second reading like a walk in the park with only a few interpellations during the period of amendments.
Cayetano explained that the move will give ample time for Congress to deliberate against issues hounding the network.
But to recall, Cayetano was speaking otherwise on his Facebook post that said ABS-CBN franchise is still not a priority for the lawmakers as they are re-prioritizing legislations to support the need of the country’s present condition but will remain cognizant of the pending franchise.
“As Congress re-aligns its priorities towards Building a Different and Better Tomorrow bypassing urgent legislation that would maximize emerging socio-economic opportunities for our people; including but not limited to the Services, Health, Education, Agriculture, Tourism, Construction, and Manufacturing sectors, we remain cognizant of our responsibility in addressing the pending issue of the ABC-CBN franchise,” Cayetano said.
But lawyer Larry Gadon who once filed a petition before the Supreme Court against Cayetano says today’s development is bad accommodation.
Gadon said the swift approval snatched lawmakers the privilege to study and analyze the bill.
Since the bill is not certified urgent by the President, it could only pass today on second reading.
First thing next week, the bill can be approved on 3rd reading to proceed deliberations at the Senate.
If Senate adopts the House version of the bill, the process will be hastened and bi-cam is no longer needed.
Then, the ball is in the hands of President Duterte who may veto or sign the bill into law.