SIX lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, want to bring to the House plenary the application of ABS-CBN for a new franchise.
In a letter sent to Palawan Representative Franz Alvarez, chairperson of the committee on legislative franchises, the group asked that the committee report and committee resolution on ABS-CBN’s franchise bid be submitted to plenary.
They said a plenary debate on the application should be held.
The Makabayan bloc made the request more than a week after the House committee on legislative franchises voted on July 10 to reject the application based on the recommendation of a technical working group (TWG).
“We respectfully move and pray for the committee on legislative franchises to submit the said committee TWG report and the adopted committee resolution to the plenary for ratification of its decision,” the letter read.
The group said other members of the House should have the opportunity to express their opinions on ABS-CBN’s franchise bid.
The House of Representatives has 305 members. More than 80 were able to vote on the franchise bills at the committee level.
“Undeniably, majority of the 305 members of the House of Representatives are being deprived of the opportunity to deliberate and even vote on the said issue, in representation of their constituents who were badly affected by the Committee decision,” they added.
The bloc cited Section 49 of the House Rules which states that “when a committee action on a bill or resolution is unfavorable, the bill or resolution shall be laid on the table. The author(s) shall be notified in writing and, as far as practicable, through electronic mail of the action within five days after the bill or resolution has been laid on the table, stating the reason(s) therefor.”
The group also argued that the House panel made a “temporary suspension of consideration.”
"The committee on legislative franchises may no longer tackle the franchise bills because they have been laid on the table precisely because it is now up to the Plenary to decide on the issue," the group said.
"Even if the TWG report is the most unsure and insecure document ever approved by a committee, the fact is it was approved by many committee members. The next step, therefore, is to resolve these insecurities and doubts through a plenary debate and approval,” they added.
The letter was signed by Bayan Muna party-list Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat and Ferdinand Gaite, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago. (SunStar Philippines)