Senator Grace Poe said on Saturday, July 11, that the decision of the House of Representatives on ABS-CBN’s franchise application was a game-changer for all corporations that held and are holding legislative permits.
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services that tackles franchises, said the non-renewal of the broadcast firm’s franchise “indeed sets a dangerous precedent for all other franchises.”
“The resolution on ABS-CBN affects all franchises both past and present,” she warned.
Explaining further, the senator said the “high and unforgiving bar” set by the House legislative franchises committee for ABS-CBN will particularly affect the legitimacy of franchise holders that use Philippine depositary receipts (PDRs), tax schemes, and digital platforms.
“When you deny the privilege of broadcast to an entity which regulatory agencies have already certified as compliant, the game changes for all the players,” she said.
“Resolving that a franchise holder has violations beyond the terms and conditions of its franchise opens the floodgates for possible violations of all other franchise holders even without their knowledge until they have been told so by Congress,” she added.
On Friday, 70 members of the House legislative franchises committee voted to deny ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh, 25-year franchise. Only 11 congressmen opposed the move, while two inihibited and one abstained.
The congressmen maintained that ABS-CBN violated laws with regard to taxes, ownership as well the term franchise even after concerned government agencies, in separate hearings in both the Senate and House, have already addressed the claims and cleared the network of violations.