Palace to Congress: Set aside PRRD’s ‘displeasure’ vs. ABS CBN

Congress need not consider President Rodrigo Duterte's displeasure against local media giant ABS CBN Corp., MalacaAang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after House legislative franchises vice chairperson and Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano said the apparent rift between Duterte and ABS CBN is putting pressure on congressmen.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Panelo denied that Duterte was pressuring lawmakers to derail the franchise renewal of the embattled broadcasting firm.

Members of Congress know that the President does not entertain any call from them in relation to any measure being discussed in Congress, and for that matter, any subject matter that does not concern the President on matters affecting the presidency and the international interest, as well as the general welfare, he said.

Albano on Wednesday admitted that the pressure from Duterte is coming from the President's grievances against ABS CBN's failure to run his campaign advertisements for the 2016 presidential race.

The lawmaker added that ABS CBN's wordings about the issues concerning its franchise renewal are also putting Congress in a bad light.

Panelo stressed that Congress has the sole authority to decide on the fate of ABS CBN.

Exclusive sa kanila 'yun (That's exclusive to them) granting and renewing. And even assuming on the remotest possibility that he (Duterte) will veto it, it's still Congress (that will decide), he said.

ABS CBN's 25 year legislative franchise will expire on March 30, 2020 unless Congress and Duterte allow its extension for another 25 years.

Senators and congressmen have to first pass a ratified bill on ABS CBN's franchise before Duterte can decide on it.

Panelo said Congress can overturn Duterte's decision in the event that the Chief Executive wields his veto power on the franchise renewal of the local media giant.

They can override the President under the Constitution, he said. It's up to the President. But even assuming that he'd veto it, Congress can always override (it) by two thirds vote. So whatever angle you look at it, it's Congress (that has the final say).

The 1987 Constitution allows lawmakers to override the President's veto. The vetoed bill can still become a law, if two third of members of Congress vote in its favor.

SC can hear complaint vs. ABS CBN

Amid issues besetting ABS CBN's franchise renewal, Solicitor General Jose Calida on Monday filed before the Supreme Court quo warranto petition, seeking the nullification of the franchises of ABS CBN.

Calida accused the broadcasting firm of violating the Constitution when it allowed foreign investors to take part in its ownership by issuing Philippine Deposit Receipts through ABS CBN Holdings Corp.

However, constitutional lawyer Tony La ViAa in an interview with CNN Philippines said the high court where the petition was filed is the wrong venue.

But Panelo said the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction to handle the case concerning ABS CBN's franchise.

Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court can act on any controversy when it involves grave abuse of discretion, whatever. Nandoon eh. Pasok lahat sa Supreme Court (The violation is there. It can be discussed before the Supreme Court), Panelo said.

Source: Philippines News Agency