By Mario Casayuran
Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said today the nooks and corners of the Philippine Republic are reached not by television but by radio.
Through a teleconferencing mode adopted by the Senate in undertaking a hearing on the petition of ABS-CBN network for an extension of its 25-year franchise that expired last May 4, Enrile said the urgency of the petition that the Filipino people must know what is going on, particularly information on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation, is a non-issue.
‘’I can’t understand the urgency,’’ Enrile said, referring to the ABS-CBN position that it needs to broadcast information for the Filipino people know and understand the issues and news of the day.
Enrile said the question of communication and dissemination is not an issue but that the Philippine Constitution and laws must be followed.
He said he doubted whether Congress has the power to grant provisional authority to ABS-CBN network to operate.
If the House of Representatives passes a bill giving a five-month provisional authority to ABS-CBN, the Senate could do anything by amending or substituting it because the Lower House has already lost control of the bill, he explained.
The Senate could give the network a one-year franchise or a 50-year franchise, the maximum period provided by the Constitution, he added.
If there are disagreements in the versions of the two Legislative chambers, the bicameral conference committee process would be employed.
‘’That is the balancing powers of the Senate and the House of Representatives,’’ he said.#