Rodriguez pleads with Alvarez to table ABS-CBN renewal bills: ‘Don’t just let it lapse’

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Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Tuesday said he “pleaded” with Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, chair of the House committee on legislative franchises, to finally begin discussions on the pending bills extending the franchise of ABS-CBN.

The media giant’s 25-year franchise will expire on March 30.

“Well, I have talked to chairman Alvarez yesterday, and I again pleaded to him to already have hearings,” he told reporters.

“There are no less than 11 bills in Congress about the renewal of ABS-CBN. We have to hear ABS-CBN; we have to hear the people; we have to hear different stakeholders. We are saying, as far as I’m concerned, that freedom of the press in this country should always be upheld,” Rodriguez said.

He said Alvarez seemed receptive to his call.

“He is going to consider that and confer with the Speaker. Wala pa because he is going to meet with his senior members, vice chairmen and meet with the Speaker,” Rodriguez said.

“But certainly I’ll inform him that please call these bills for hearing because it is the right of congressmen to file bills. It is our right for our bills to be heard. They cannot just let it lapse, let ABS-CBN lapse because of inaction,” he added.

“That is really a bad move on the part of the committees to be able not to hear bills filed by 11 congressmen. But I believe Franz will have hearings very soon because time is of the essence,” Rodriguez said.