By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte failed to sign the 25-year franchise renewal of TV5 and 10 other media outfits as they all lapsed into law in March and April this year, official copies of the laws showed.
Based on official copies of the law, Duterte failed to sign Republic Act No. 11320 until it lapsed into law on April 22 this year. It is said that if a president fails to act on the bill within 30 days upon receipt, it will automatically become a law.
The 10 other media outfits that bore a stamp saying that their franchise renewal lapsed into law are the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Inc., PBN Broadcasting Network, Inc., Andres Bonifacio College Broadcasting System, Inc., and Insular Broadcasting System, Inc. The bill on their renewal lapsed on April 22.
The bills for the franchise renewal of RMC Broadcasting Corporation, and Advanced Media Broadasting System, Inc. lapsed on March 30.
Meanwhile, bills renewing the franchise of Cebu Broadcasting Company, Radio Marine Network, First Love Broadcasting Network, Inc., and Tirad Pass Radio TV Broadcasting Network, Inc. all lapsed on April 27.
According to Panelo, Duterte probably had no objections about the renewal of the franchise to operate of the said media entities so he just allowed them to lapse into laws.
“‘Pag pina-lapse niya ibig sabihin okay sa kanya. That means effectively parang pinirmahan niya rin yun (If he let it lapse, it means he has no problems with it. It’s like he signed them),” he said Thursday.
“When a president was supposed to pass bills, will let a law pass, ibig sabihin okay lang sa kanya yun (that means he’s okay with it),” he added.
According to Panelo, the President sometimes fails to act on bills because of the number of documents piling up in his office due to his other activities.
“There are so many documents he has to sign, and at the same time, he has so many activities to attend to. Out-of-town trips, he visits one place, and then another place. Meanwhile, documents pile up. Kaya kung minsan, hindi niya nakikita yung iba (So sometimes, he doesn’t get to see all of them),” he said.
When asked if there is a possibility that the bill renewing the franchise of ABS-CBN may also lapse into law, Panelo said it is up to Congress to file a bill for the network.
“ABS-CBN ang expiration niyan next year pa, eh. Tsaka Congress naman… Nasa Kongreso ang bola niyan, hindi naman kay Presidente (ABS-CBN’s franchise will expire next year. And the ball is in Congress’ court, not with the President’s),” he said.
President Duterte has repeatedly threatened to block the renewal of the franchise of ABS-CBN for allegedly accepting money for his campaign advertisement in 2016 but failed to air it before the elections. The company also supposedly failed to return the money.
After granting the 25-year extension to the franchise of GMA-7 in May 2017, Duterte said ABS-CBN’s franchise would be fine as long as the network adheres to journalistic standards.
In December 2017, Duterte said he was willing to settle his row with ABS-CBN as long as the network helps the government raise awareness on the shift to a federal government. (Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos)