The Manila Times revealed unofficial list of Congress votes for ABS-CBN franchise renewal

Photos courtesy of The Manila Times and Rappler

The suspended media giant--ABS-CBN Corp. have to endure another hardship as they battle to secure a new franchise, where the majority of lawmakers at the House of Representatives seemed hesitant to give the network another chance to go on the air.

According to one of the leading newspaper in the country, the Manila Times, they were able to obtain a copy of an unofficial list of congress’ votes regarding the ABS-CBN franchise renewal.

 The said documents showed a list of lawmakers who were likely to reject the grant of a franchise and outnumbered those who vouched for the network.

An initial tally of votes showed that 25 lawmakers were likely to vote in favor of the network, 57 were likely to oppose a new franchise, while 10 were unsure.

However, the document was unofficial, it showed an initial tally of votes from 25 congressmen who voted in favor of the Kapamilya network.

While the “yes” votes were not enough to outnumber the 57 who voted “no” while 10 are still unsure with regards to the franchise renewal of the said network.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Franchises and on Good Government and Public Accountability concluded hearings on the alleged violations of ABS-CBN on Monday.

There had been 12 hearings that extensively tackled the network’s alleged violations of its franchise, the Constitution, labor, and tax laws, and biased reporting and meddling in politics.

The Manila Times also said, the voting for a new franchise of ABS-CBN will happen after the hearings are concluded on Thursday.

However, Legislative Franchises Committee Chairman Franz Alvarez, said they had yet to schedule a date for voting.

Last Monday, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano advised lawmakers to cast a “conscience vote.”

“I cannot speak for the parties, kasi mag-uusap-usap din sila (because they will discuss among themselves). But from the start, we’ve been urging a conscience vote,” Cayetano told the media.

Cayetano decided not to testify in the hearing on the alleged biased-reporting of ABS-CBN so as not to “sway” the other lawmakers.

But instead, he would submit a written position to the committee on his view that the network had been biased in the coverage and placement of advertisements during the 2016 elections when he ran for vice president as the running mate of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Meanwhile, the Kabataan party-list also believe that ABS-CBN has complied with the provisions and requirements of its previous franchise and deserves a new franchise.

“...that will enable it to continue its broadcasting service to 19 million Filipino households out of 21 million nationwide and over 3 million Filipinos overseas, especially in this time of a pandemic where news and information dissemination, even entertainment, is as critical as a need.” Elago said.

The fault-finding against ABS-CBN has gone too far, leaving more jobs lost and millions of Filipinos without access to news and entertainment. Amid the pandemic when firms are closing and downsizing with millions of displaced workers and unemployment is at an all-time high, the government must focus instead on supporting local enterprises and preserving jobs,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago added.

The Kapamilya network is one of the largest and oldest broadcasting company in the country. It has produced excellent artists with the likes of Coco Martin and Daniel Padilla and many more.

Several Kapuso celebrities reacted after learning that the said network was ordered to stop its broadcast operations due to the expiration of its franchise.

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