MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Disgruntled lawmakers have blamed Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the House leadership for the closure of media giant ABS-CBN.
Buhay Representative Lito Atienza and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman – both among the authors of the bills renewing the network’s franchise that had already expired – said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) should not be used as a scapegoat for what Congress failed to do.
“I would like to apologize for the failure of Congress to do its job. Kasalanan namin ito eh. Kasalanan ng Kongreso ito. But more important, I’d like to say, squarely, kasalanan ni Speaker Cayetano ito. Pagkukulang niya ito sa bayan,” Atienza told ANC’s Headstart on Wednesday, May 6.
(I would like to apologize for the failure of Congress to do its job. This is our fault. This is Congress’ fault. But more important, I’d like to say, squarely, this is Speaker Cayetano’s fault. This is what he failed to do for the nation.)
Atienza slammed the House for dragging its foot on the ABS-CBN franchise bills, the first filed as early as September 2014.
“He (Cayetano) will have a lot to explain one day. It may not be today, but later on, this issue will hound him because he was the one who did not do his job. Even the President kept on reminding him to do your job, magtrabaho kayo, aksyunan ‘nyo ‘yan (work on it, act on it already). What did we do? Nothing,” Atienza said.
Lagman slammed Cayetano for not only delaying the House hearings on the ABS-CBN franchise, but for also insisting that the NTC’s issuance of a provisional authority would have been enough for the network to keep operating beyond May 4.
The opposition lawmaker has long insisted that the House – where all franchise bills must emanate from – should just go ahead and renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.
“The National Telecommunication Commission must not be used as the scapegoat for the patent failure of the leadership of the House of Representatives to resolutely push for the seasonable renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise,” Lagman said.
“I have repeatedly warned that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s proffered solution for NTC to grant ABS-CBN a provisional authority to operate, despite the lapse of its franchise, is against the law and jurisprudence,” he added.