HOUSE Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano hit back at Senator Grace Poe after the latter said that the denial of the ABS-CBN franchise “sets a dangerous precedent for all other franchises.”

“Chill ka lang Senator Grace, our country is on the right track,” Cayetano said in a Facebook post on Tuesday, July 14.

Voting 70-11 on Friday, July 10, the House of Representatives committee on legislative franchises junked the application of ABS-CBN for another 25-year franchise.

Senator Grace Poe warned that the denial of the franchise would set a “dangerous precedent for other franchises.”

She added that the move would affect other franchise holders who use Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs), tax schemes, and digital platforms which were considered legal before.

“I agree with Sen.Grace Poe that the denial of Lopez's franchise application for ABS-CBN sets a precedent. And it is precisely the precedent we want to make - that the House will never tolerate anyone, including oligarchs who will abuse the system,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said that Poe should “read the committee’s findings and decision” on the network’s franchise.

The House Speaker also denied that the rejection of ABS-CBN’s franchise has a “chilling” effect on freedom of expression.

“This is completely false. I invite both Vice President Leni Robredo and our good Senator to read the decision, rewatch the hearings, and maybe come to understand that not breaking the law is not the same as obeying it,” he said.

“The only ‘chilling effect’ the denial has are on those who would abuse the system and hold cavalier attitudes towards our laws, even the Philippine Constitution,” he added.

Cayetano compared ABS-CBN with other networks such as GMA7 and TV5.

He said the franchise applications of the said networks were approved immediately because they did not “mask the corporate practices of their owners that screwed the system.”

“Their owners did not violate election laws nor sought to play kingmaker or kingslayer,: Cayetano said.

Cayetano appealed for a “reasoned, deliberate, and respectful” discussion on other issues that affect the nation.

“Hopefully with these dialogues, and after reading the report, we can give and take from each other those missing pieces that make our vision complete,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)