THE franchise of ABC Development Corp., currently known as TV5 Network, Inc., has been renewed for another 25 years.

This after Republic Act (RA) No. 11320 lapsed into law on April 22, 2019, without President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature.

The TV5 franchise was approved by the House of Representatives on Dec. 4, 2018, and amended by the Senate on Feb. 4, 2019. The House approved the amendments on Feb. 8, 2019.

At the same time, RA No. 11319 which extended the franchise of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for another 25 years also lapsed into law without Mr. Duterte’s signature.

A bill may become a law, even without the President’s signature, if the President does not sign it within thirty days from receipt in Malacañang.

Ibig sabihin kung pina-lapse niya…okay sa kanya. That means, effectively parang pinirmahan niya rin iyon (If he let the bills lapse into law, that means he is okay with the proposed measures. That means, effectively, it is the same as signing the bills into law),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said during a briefing on Thursday.

Both TV5 Network and CBCP are allowed to continue to “construct, install, operate, and maintain radio and television broadcasting stations in the Philippines.”

TV5 Network primarily broadcasts sports and news programs, through ESPN and News5. Its franchise was first granted in December 1994, under Republic Act No. 7831.

The CBCP, for its part, operates radio stations across the country through its Catholic Media Network arm.

Under their franchises, both media companies should not use their stations or facilities for “obscene or indecent transmission, or for the dissemination of deliberately false information or willful misrepresentation, or assist in subversive or treasonable acts.”

The franchise of media giant ABS-CBN Corp. is also set to expire next year. Mr. Duterte has previously expressed his opposition to the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.

But Mr. Panelo said it’s up to Congress to approve ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, not Mr. Duterte.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — A.L.Balinbin