DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 11 July) — By a vote of 70-11, two abstentions and one inhibition, the House of Representatives on Friday “killed” the ABS-CBN’s application for a renewal of its franchise for another 25 years.
Out of the 84 who cast their votes on the Committee on Legislative Franchises’ (CLF) resolution “denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation to construct, install , establish, operate, and maintain radio and television broadcasting stations in the Philippines,” 17 are Mindanawons, eight of them members of the Committee and nine House leaders and ex-officio members.
Fourteen of them voted ‘yes’ to deny, including two who authored bills for the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation and its telecommunications subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. while three voted ‘no,’ among them a Committee Vice Chair, North Cotabato’s 3rd district Representative Jose “Pingping” Tejada.
The CLF has 46 members, one chair and five vice chairs. The Committee voted 40 in favor of the resolution and six against. Tejada was the lone Vice Chair and the lone Mindanawon in the CLF who voted “no.”
The Freedom for Media, Freedom For All network on Saturday released infographics on how the 84 voted, based on Philstar.com and interaksyon.com reports.
A total of 11 representatives voted against denying the franchise application, among them Mindanawons Tejada, Basilan Rep. and Deputy Speaker Mujv Hataman and Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. and Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate.
Deny the franchise
Two Mindanawon representatives who filed bills for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise voted to deny its franchise bid: Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur 2nd district, for renewal of franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation whose franchise expired on May 4, 2020 and Jericho Jonas Nograles of PBA party-list, for renewal of franchise of its telecommunication subsidiary, ABS-CBN Convergence Inc. (formerly Multi-Media Telephony). The firm’s franchise expired on March 17, 2020.
Maguindanao 2nd district Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu also voted to deny ABS-CBN’s franchise application. Mangudadatu’s wife, two sisters, relatives and 32 media workers were among 58 massacred in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.
There are eight Mindanawons in the 46-member Committee on Legislative Franchises: the lone vice chair who voted against denying the franchise and seven members who voted for.
The 14 Mindanawons who voted yes to the resolution to reject ABS-CBN’s franchise bid are Committee members Mangudadatu, Nograles, Claudine Diana Bautista (Dumper PTDA party list and Assistant Majority Leader); Dulce Ann K. Hofer (Zamboanga Sibugay, 2nd dist.), Frederick Siao (Lone district, Iligan City), Christian Unabia (Misamis Oriental, 3rd dist.) and Divina Grace Yu (Zamboanga del Sur, 1st dist.).
The seven Mindanawon House leaders who also voted yes are Presidential son Paolo Duterte (Davao City 1st District and Deputy Speaker); Ferdinand Hernandez (South Cotabato 2nd dist.and Deputy Speaker); Henry Oaminal (Misamis Occidental, 2nd dist. and Deputy Speaker), Wilter Palma II (Zamboanga Sibugay, 1st dist. and Deputy Majority Leader), Prospero Pichay, Jr. (Surigao del Sur, 1st dist. and Deputy Speaker), Johnny Ty Pimentel (Surigao del Sur, 2nd dist. and Deputy Speaker), Romualdo Xavier Jesus (Camiguin Lone dist. and Deputy Majority Leader).
Pimentel was represented by Surigao del Norte 1st district Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas, Pichay by Marino party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzalez, while Hernandez was represented by Rizal 2nd district Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles.
Romualdo on Thursday was named part of the three-member Technical Working Group with Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia as chair and Stella Luz Quimbo, Marikina 2nd district and Assistant Minority Leader. The TWG prepared the 40-page report on the longest franchise hearing in Philippine history with Quimbo signing the report but writing “I dissent” above her signature.
Zarate, one of the authors of a franchise renewal bill, said the TWG tasked to study what transpired during the 12 hearings and make recommendations to the Committee, made no consultations. He also asked how exhaustive the discussions of the TWG was given that the report was done overnight.
Mindanawon authors of ABS-CBN franchise bills
Five Mindanawon representatives are principal authors of ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills.
Nograles filed HB 3064 for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Convergence, Inc. (formerly Multi-Media Telephony).
Pimentel, Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro 2nd dist), Bayan Muna’s Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat, filed bills for the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN Corporation.
Pimentel, along with Aurelio Gonzales, Jr. and Doy Leachon, filed HB5608 on November 25, 2019. Rodriguez filed HB 5705 on December 4, 2019 while
Zarate, Cullamat and the other Makabayan bloc members filed HB 6052 on January 27, 2020.
Hataman is co-author, along with Zarate and Cullamat, of HB 676 filed by Rep. Micaela Violago. Hataman also co-authored HB 5753 filed by Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato.
The Committee Resolution also said that “all of the House Bills and House Resolutions relative to the grant or renewal of the franchise application of ABS-CBN Corporation are hereby laid on the table,” which as explained by the Secretary General, means “killed.”
The Resolution cited 12 House Bills: 676, 3521, 3713, 3947, 4305, 5608, 5705, 5753, 6052, 6138, 6293 and 6694, and House Resolution Nos. 639 and 853 relative to the grant or renewal of ABS-CBN Corporation’s franchise.
Zarate on Thursday delivered the summation of the arguments on behalf of those who want to grant ABS-CBN a franchise while Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta of SAGIP party list did the same for those against renewing the franchise.
Zarate asked why punish a company that did not violate the law, citing the statements of officials of government agencies during the hearings. But Marcoleta narrated what he said were violations of the company and added that “it is the will of Congress that should be accorded due respect” whether they vote for or against the grant of franchise. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)