House panels want Calida at ABS-CBN hearings

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TWO COMMITTEES at the House of Representatives are calling on Solicitor General Jose C. Calida to attend the next hearings on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Corp.

“The SolGen being absent in this hearing should be enjoined to attend future hearings and explain his side on why should he not be held in contempt,” House committee on good governance and public accountability chair and Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado said during the virtual joint hearing on Tuesday.

“We will ask them to give their side bago natin masabi na kung tunay nga bang may contempt na naganap laban sa komiteng ito, laban sa dignidad ng buong House of the people at kung may criminal cases ba na dapat isampa laban sa kanila o wala,” he added.

(We will ask them to give their side before we can say whether there was indeed contempt against this committee, against the dignity of the people’s House, and whether a criminal case should be filed against them.)

House committee on legislative franchises chair and Palawan Rep. Franz E. Alvarez said that the panels would “resort to compulsory processes” if Mr. Calida fails to join the succeeding hearings.

The committees will also amend and consolidate all 11 measures seeking to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise to House Bill 6694, which grants a new 25-year license to the media network. The two panels will convene again on Monday morning to resume their deliberations on the network’s franchise.

In a letter to the House legislative franchises committee on Tuesday, Mr. Calida said he would not attend the hearing due to the pending petitions he had filed before the Supreme Court against ABS-CBN.

On May 5, ABS-CBN went off-air after the cease-and-desist order issued by the National Telecommunications Commission. — Genshen Espedido