Anakalugusan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor asked the House leadership under Speaker Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) to make public its true plans for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
Defensor, speaking during the “BTS sa Congress” coalition launch Thursday, said the current leadership should come clean for the sake of those pining for shuttered television and radio network’s revival.
“Siguro kailangang ilinaw na nila yan kasi labas nang labas sa social media, ipapasa daw nila, ayusin nila. Eh kawawa naman pati yung ABS-CBN supporters, and I’m just being fair to them, huwag naman nilang lokohin (I think it’s time for them to clarify that because according to social media posts, they will pass the franchise application. I pity the ABS-CBN supporters, and I’m just being fair to them, I hope they won’t get duped),” he said.
“Kung gagawin nila, gawin nila. Kung hindi naman, sabihin na nila na that is not a priority (If they are going to do it, then do it. If not, then they should say that it’s not a priority),” said Defensor, a staunch ally of former Speaker, Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros).
On July 10, 2020, the Legislative Franchises panel chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez voted 70-11-1 (yes-no-abstain) to reject ABS-CBN’s franchise application, which several House members had filed in behalf of the network. The panel hearings were held under Cayetano’s watch, amid the COVID-19 pamdemic.
The Lopez-owned network went off the air on May 5, 2020, or a day after its erstwhile 25-year operating franchise expired. It has since let some of its workers go.
Defensor was among the solons who were vocal in their opposition to the franchise renewal.