Senate franchise hearing reset 3 days earlier

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    THE Senate committee on public services has set an earlier hearing on bills seeking to renew the franchise of network giant ABS-CBN – on February 24 instead of February 27.

    In an advisory, the committee said it will also tackle bills on franchise renewals of six other companies — Golden Broadcast Professional Inc., Gold Label Broadcasting System Inc., Broadcast Enterprises and Affiliate Media Inc., First United Broadcasting Corp., Crusaders Broadcasting System, and Bicol Broadcasting System.

    Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, vice chair of the Senate committee on public services, allayed fears resource persons might violate the sub judice rule.

    He said Senate rules and Supreme Court rulings state resource persons are allowed to talk during hearings because the Senate is exercising oversight function.

    Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to issue a gag order to stop ABS-CBN representatives from issuing statements on the quo warranto petition he filed against the network last week. Calida is asking the tribunal to revoke ABS-CBN’s franchise for its alleged “abusive practices.”

    Sen. Christopher Go urged the House of Representatives to act on bills on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN so the Senate can act on the franchise renewal issue.