Senate President Tito Sotto has quickly squashed Grace Poe’s dreams of an all-powerful Senate granting the wishing of ABS-CBN.
Sotto criticized Poe for announcing that she has pushed the Senate to hold hearings into the ABS-CBN franchise renewal. Simultaneous hearings are incredible difficult to hold, considering that the House has not even transmitted a bill to the upper chamber. What would the hearings even discuss if there’s no bill?
“Ang suggestion ko, ‘yung resolution na lang niya ang i-hearing niya. What is the franchise that she will be hearing if there is no franchise bill?” Senate President Sotto questioned Poe’s ill-conceived and attention-grabbing initiative.
“Mayroong nag-file pero it doesn’t have any legal stand at the moment until it comes to the House,” Sotto continued.
Franchises like ABS-CBN’s are based on laws which grant private companies the right to use certain resources or fill specific roles in the nation. These are granted by the government and considered a privilege.
All franchise bills must originate from the House of Representatives, a protective guideline which ensures that these extremely important franchises are given the full wrung through the legislative process. It is also a preventive measure which would stop powerful politicians like senators, like Poe, from railroading the bill. Poe’s request to hold simultaneous hearings is not only baseless, it’s downright dastardly.
The hearings Poe will arrange are likely just meant to be a venue for her to advocate for her friends in ABS-CBN.
Thankfully, Senate President Sotto and his counterpart, Speaker of the House Alan Peter Cayetano, have all intentions to not rush the processing of the bill. They, unlike Poe, understand that this matter is complex. Unlike before when powerful corporations like ABS-CBN could just buy their way through the government, the voice of the Filipino people and the interest of the common good will be the highest priority in the discussion.