CHR expresses concern over Abs-Cbn franchise renewal

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By JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL
June 14, 2019

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METRO MANILA (MDN National News, June 14) - With President Rodrigo Duterte against the renewal of the giant TV network in the country, ABS CBN could be closed in 2020.

Jacqueline De Guia, spokesperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) revealed her deep concern after she heard on the move by the House of Representatives to allegedly "freeze" the bill seeking renewal of abs-cbn legislative franchise. 

De Guia said in a statement the services provided by television giant ABS CBN owned by the Lopez group are "beyond the whims of politics."

She said “If the network has committed any violation, it must be tackled through due process.”

She added: “Non-renewal can be tantamount to shutting down the network. If an entire media giant would be toppled down due to a political caprice, it could signal the beginning of a bleaker state of press freedom in the country and a catapult to the wave of previous assaults to media.”

It was earlier reported that House Bill 4349, which proposes for the extension of abs-cbn franchise for the next 25 years was still pending at the committee level for almost three years now. In 2020, the abs cbn franchise is going to expire, it was learned. 

This, even as the House Committee on Legislative Franchises failed to submit a report on the said franchise renewal before the 17th Congress adjourned its last session.

ABS-CBN did not comment on the reported speculations regarding the bill when interviewed by reporters.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte last year revealed he is personally not in favor of the renewal of the TV network's franchise, accusing that the network allegedly swindle him.

Duterte also accused the TV network as well as The Philippine Daily Inquirer of what he termed as "slanted" and "unfair" reporting on his administration.

The CHR also sounded alarm bells on the reported illegal arrest of journalist Margarita Valle at Laguindingan International Airport.

Valle was mistakenly identified as a certain Elsa Renton, the suspect with multiple murder cases and arson. Renton has a standing warrants of arrest for several cases filed in court.

She said “We reiterate utmost compliance to the requirements of the Constitution in carrying out arrest warrants. There are no excuses to circumvent the standards enumerated in the bill of rights especially by those duty-bound to uphold it.” 

The CHR spokesperson also noted the mistaken arrest of a suspect raised fears on the reported growing cases of harassment and intimidation meted on some individuals and groups , and even inlcuding the members of the Fourth State, which is the media. ###

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ABOUT JOEL
Joel Calamba Escol is a journalist since 1991, author and all around person. He plays billiards, paints, does some comic illustrations, cartoons and likes watching CNN and AljazeraTV. He is also an SEO expert. When he's not working, you'll find him gaming and watching hard action movies. He's a total sucker of news and current events. 

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