ABS-CBN franchise issue will have to wait until after 2022 elections, says Velasco

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House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said on Thursday that calls to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise will take a backseat until the next batch of legislators are elected in 2022.

“Calls to revive the franchise of ABS-CBN will have to wait until the next Congress,” Velasco said in a statement.

The leader of the House of Representatives said members of Congress are focused on completing the remaining priority measures of the current administration with only a little over a year left until the 2022 elections. He also claimed that they are working on the passage of Bayanihan 3 and other economic bills addressing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Speaker of the House broke his silence on the issue shortly after the President said he will not allow ABS-CBN to return on air even if Congress grants the broadcasting giant a fresh franchise. Duterte said he will not allow the National Telecommunications Commission to grant it the permit to operate until the Lopez-owned company settles unpaid taxes — an allegation refuted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Securities and Exchange Commission.