PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere over the congress’ decision over ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise.
This is what Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque assured during a press briefing in Malacanang.
Roque said that President Duterte stands firm to be neutral, and also emphasized that even if the chief executive wishes to grant the franchise of ABS-CBN, still he has no power to do so.
Roque, however, explained that only Congress has the power to give the franchise privilege to the said broadcasting network.
The Palace spokesman told lawmakers not to worry about what the President’s reaction maybe if they would pass the franchise bill for ABS-CBN.
According to Roque, Duterte advised congressmen to vote in accordance with what their conscience dictates.
“Completely neutral ang Presidente. Vote as your conscience dictates. Hinding-hindi po manghihimasok ang Presidente sa inyong desisyon,” Roque said.
On the other hand, Palace denies allegation on Solicitor General Jose Calida that he has influenced the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) decision in releasing the Cease and Desist Order on Tuesday against ABS-CBN that ordered the closure of their broadcasting operations all over the Philippines.
“Alam n’yo po, tapatan, hindi po nag-influence si Calida. Sumulat po s’ya that’s in due course of his job. He is perfectly within his right to write. Pero kung titingnan n’yo po ang NTC talaga, the law says, it is independent while it is exercising its judicial function . Tapatan, ‘yung chairman po ng NTC, ilang presidente na po ang pinagsilbihan n’ya, wala po’ng pupuwedeng magsabi na nadidiktahan itong si Chairman Cordova noh,”Roque said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment or DOLE to help out thousands of workers of the ABS-CBN who might possibly lose their jobs.
The Palace spokesman said that he called on DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III to cater to displaced ABS-CBN workers on its small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) program to be able to get two-month assistance for the meantime.
Afterward, the Labor Chief released a statement that the order for ABS-CBN to stop its broadcast operations does not have an immediate and direct impact on the employment of its employees wherein their workers shall continue to be employed and remain entitled to all labor standards.