‘Fishing expedition’: ABS-CBN franchise hearing now one of the longest in House session history

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The House of Representatives’ inquiry into ABS-CBN Corp’s application for renewal of franchise is now among the longest conducted by the chamber’s committee.

Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza mentioned that other franchises only had up to 4 hearings only, as opposed to ABS-CBN which would be facing lawmakers once again this week for the 8th and 9th time in what he called a “fishing expedition.”

“Kung ang takbo ay paulit-ulit na accusation with no conclusion whatsoever… nakakasawa naman. Unfair, to say the least. Unfair to ABS-CBN, unfair to the employees of ABS-CBN, unfair to the Filipinos who are dependent on ABS-CBN for their accurate news delivery, information, entertainment. Hindi tama ang nangyayari,” he told ABS-CBN News.

[If the inquiries continue with accusations and no conclusion whatsoever…it gets tiresome.]

“It’s time to call spade a spade, let’s vote on the matter and let’s hear the collective voices of the majority of members of Congress. And whatever decision is made, we should respect it.”

He also pointed out that franchise renewal hearings should focus in contributions by the franchisee to the country and its overall performance, and should not be investigative or prosecutorial. 

After 7 hearings, there was still no proof of any violations committed by ABS-CBN, as agencies such as the Justice Department, the Bureau of Immigration and the Securities and Exchange Commission debunked claims of lawmakers against the network’s franchise renewal, Atienza said.

Atienza emphasized that he would also prefer to return to physical sessions. He claims that under the current video conferencing scheme, lawmakers cannot talk freely and their comments are screened by the secretariat.

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