Malacañang on Friday maintained its neutral stance on the franchise renewal issue of broadcast giant ABS-CBN following the decision of the House committee to deny its plea for a renewal.
“The decision of the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative Franchise denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation is a sole prerogative of Congress that we in the executive recognize,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
Roque said they respect the “separation of powers between the two co-equal branches of the government.”
“Much as we want to work with the aforesaid media network, we have to abide by the resolution of the House committee,” he added.
At least 70 lawmakers voted yes to the Technical Working Group’s recommendation to deny the media giant of a new franchise, while 11 voted NO, 2 inhibited and 1 abstained.
In a separate statement, Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo said the executive department “doesn’t intrude on the affairs of an equal branch.”
“We leave it to the collective wisdom of the committee apropos its denial of the renewal of the franchise,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been publicly ranting against the media giant since assuming the presidency, after accusing them of not airing his paid campaign ads during the 2016 elections and instead aired an ad against him. He also called the owners of the corporation, the Lopezes as ‘oligarchs.’
Earlier this year, ABS-CBN Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Carlo Katigbak issued an apology for failing to air the President’s PHP 7 million worth of political ads during the 2016 elections.
On May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a cease and desist order against ABS-CBN to operate its various television and radio broadcasting stations nationwide a day after its legislative franchise expired.
The NTC also barred the network’s subsidiary Sky Cable and Channel 43, where ABS-CBN airs digital TV Plus channels such as Cine MO!, Yey!, TeleRadyo, and pay-per-view channel KBO.