Lagman slams Cayetano on ABS-CBN network shut down

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A solon on Friday slammed House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and told him not to absolve himself for the shutdown of ABS-CBN network  for failure to renew its franchise which was stalled due to Congress’ inaction.

“Cayetano must not wash his hands and absolve himself of blame at the expense of others. Admitting one’s fault is an earmark of true leadership,” Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement.

Cayetano earlier Friday said the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) “succumbed to pressure” from Solicitor General Jose Calida when it forced ABS-CBN, one of  the country’s largest media network,  off air a day after its franchise expired.

“It is utterly pretentious for Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to say that the passage of the franchise renewal will now be prioritized in order to ‘fix the mess’ which others made,” Lagman said.

“Cayetano himself made the mess by blindly kowtowing to President Rodrigo Duterte’s repeated personal opposition to the renewal which unduly stalled the approval of the extension,” Lagman said.

Cayetano stressed it was “not that urgent” to tackle the franchise bills of ABS-CBN because it could still operate until 2022.

ABS-CBN network employs 11,000 workers.

This, as President Rodrigo Duterte, with whom Cayetano ran in his failed 2016 vice presidential bid, had earlier repeatedly vowed to shut the network down, even at one point urging its owners to just sell the company.

The Speaker “cited his own personal grievances against ABS-CBN to justify his temporizing on the consideration of the 12 pending bills for renewal,” said Lagman.

The National Telecommunications Commission, a day after ABS-CBN’s franchise expired, ordered the network on Tuesday to stop its operations and explain within 10 days why its broadcast frequency should not be recalled.

The move came just days after Calida sent a letter to the NTC pressing it to issue a cease and desist order against the 65-year-old media outfit and threatening of possible graft charges if it instead issued provisional authority.

A swift extension of ABS-CBN’s franchise by Congress will render “moot and academic” its petition for the Supreme Court to halt the order of NTC, said Lagman.

Cayetano on Friday said congressmen would conduct “fair, impartial, thorough, and comprehensive” hearings on the ABS-CBN franchise.

However, Cayetano did not say when Congress will hear ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal./Stacy Ang

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