ABS-CBN nearing ‘day of reckoning’ in Congress, says Lagman

Published July 7, 2020, 11:15 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman believes the ongoing hearings on the renewal of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN network has been in favor of the media giant.

The legislator pointed this out Tuesday as he expects the hearings at the House of Representatives is expected to conclude this Thursday, July 9. 

“It is my personal assessment that all of the issues taken up by the joint committees would be in favor of ABS-CBN from the citizenship requirement up to the issuance of PDRs (Philippine Deposit Receipts) including the fact that there is a certification by BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) and other agencies that ABS-CBN has no tax liability or does not have any unpaid taxes or tariffs and also the statement that the there is no case pending in the Comelec (Commission on Elections) or other courts which would ensnare ABS-CBN into culpability in violating the Fair Elections Act,” he said.

Citing a Supreme Court (SC) ruling on a case concerning ABS-CBN vs. Comelec, Lagman said the high tribunal had declared that the Fair Elections Act “allows TV networks to meddle in politics.”

The lawmaker said the SC had explained that “it is during the time of the election campaign that we should give more primacy to the freedom of the press so that the information to the electorate would be maximized.”

Lagman said House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has already called for “a conscience vote by members of the committee as well as the members in plenary.”