By Genalyn Kabiling
Congress can overturn any veto of President Duterte if such an option is applied to block a bill renewing the franchise of ABS-CBN network, a Palace official has said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo recognized that Congress has the authority to grant or renew the legislative franchise of the broadcast network despite the President’s “displeasure” with the firm.
“Let me say that the grant of a franchise falls exclusively within Congress,” Panelo told reporters at the Palace last Tuesday.
“Even in the—because some people are saying, ‘Oh but the President can veto,’ in the event that the renewal is given by the Congress and the President vetoes it. Again, the Constitution says that can be by a two-thirds vote,” he said.
Panelo made the remarks after the Office of the Solicitor General filed before the Supreme Court a quo warranto petition seeking to nullify the network’s franchise. The government lawyer argued that the network has violated certain laws, including the constitutional ban on foreign ownership.
The Lopez-owned network denied the allegations made by the Solicitor General, insisting that it has not violated the law.
Panelo maintained that President Duterte has “nothing to do” with the legal action taken by Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“The filing of a petition for quo warranto is on the initiative of the Solicitor General pursuant to his constitutional duty to file any action in court in the event of any, from his point of view, transgression of any law,” he said.
He also explained the President’s criticisms of the television network were part of freedom of expression.
“Whatever utterances the President made in relation to ABS-CBN came from his displeasure of being a victim of fraud relative to his paying for his campaign commercial that never was aired,” he said.
“Now, those utterances fall within the freedom of expression, and we cannot deprive him of that given that the Constitution grants that to all citizens of the country. We will leave it to the Supreme Court vis-à-vis that petition.”